First off, I love every second of our Sunday afternoon sessions together! Seeing the room light up with positivity is an invigorating instance to be a part of. Being a dance and choreography major we can get lost in the rigor of our program and tend to only associate with other dance majors, our faculty members and on occasion other arts-based disciplines. This program is a nice way to ground myself in the reasons why I even began dancing when I was 8, and that being the fact that it’s just fun. I love seeing how willing everyone in the program is to participate and jumps right into a new art form without any hesitation! Whether the other participants know it or not, it is a wonderful learning experience, as a dancer, to see how dance-centered tasks get translated to non-dancer bodies of all ages. Working with different age groups and scientific disciplines creates a lovely dynamic in the space that establishes community and collaboration because everyone has something different to bring to the movement studies.
Todays work was stimulating to watch and be a part of because I could see peoples faces light up when they saw their own choreography come to life on other people! Working with Alice was a joy specifically because she went full out from the start of our choreographic exploration together! Another aspect of today that I had fun toying with was the memory component of the movement studies because it made people feel like they were working together to make something beautiful. Memory is a large part of dance and choreography so I’m sure people are beginning to trust this art form and fully submerge themselves in something completely new. I always know I can count on the short time we all have together to be an uplifting part of my week and I’ll always have a smile on my face while participating in this program! This integrated program also lets the different generations understand each other in a non-verbal way that we can all communicate with. For example, when we are all together it isn’t about how old or young you are or even how much or how little you’ve danced in your life its just about being together and present in the task at hand while generating enough positive energy in the room to fill the Grand Canyon!
Danielle Frye, student in Dance
The first class today was a bit different than I had expected; I was thinking we would be having a dance class, where Melanie and the dance students would be teaching how to count music, showing positions, teaching basic movements, etc. However, I was surprised and excited to find out that the class was much more centered on individual creativity and improvisation. I was also very surprised how creative and unreserved the seniors danced. I had a preconceived notion before class that the older adults would be a bit shy, move a bit slower and wouldn’t be able to do some of the more advanced movements the students could do. I quickly found out this ageist opinion was very incorrect; overall the older adults were so much more free and energetic than the students! As I was dancing with my PAL, she was the one coming up with the quick, more advanced movements that I couldn’t keep up with! It was quite an eye-opener and it almost completely caused the generational-gap to disappear.
After just one class, I have already realized how similar older and younger adults are (after all, we are all humans!). Today, specifically, showed me how capable older adults can be. Society has the tendency to show senior adults as dependent, physically sedentary and uninvolved in the community. And because of the negative societal views on older adults, I have always just assumed I too would become dependent, physically sedentary and socially uninvolved as I age. PALETTE in Motion is already proving these stereotypes to be unfounded and is giving me a much brighter outlook on aging. I can honestly say the older adults in today’s class have inspired me and changed the way I look at aging. Growing older is something to embrace and to not be afraid of. I am very excited for the following classes and cannot wait to learn more about how dancing can bring generations closer.
Laura Morris, graduate student in Physical Therapy
Today was a bittersweet day, as it was our very last PALETTE art class. The activity was called printmaking, where we were to paint on these plastic sheets and then transfer them onto our piece of paper, making 3 layers. My PAL Alice and I had both created very similar pieces that actually complemented each other well. We both laughed together at our art and said that they were “contemporary” pieces because they were made of mostly shapes, compared to some of the other beautiful pieces our other classmates created. Once we were done printmaking, we both walked together into the reception to look at all of our artwork from the semester and reflect back on all that we had accomplished. It was so wonderful to talk about our art and how similar our styles were to each other. Alice told me that she felt that she connected with people in my age group more because of our energy and that she did not like to do things with older people because they depressed her. I thought this was really interesting, especially because of our last class discussion we had about how individual people are and that their age has nothing to do with who someone is as a person.
I loved being a part of the PALETTE program this semester and especially having the ability to meet Alice. We connected so well and are extremely similar in our values and hobbies. We exchanged numbers to keep in touch and even have plans to hang out and do something later in June that we both enjoy. Before joining this program, I would have never thought that I could create such a wonderful relationship with someone who is from a different generation than I am. Alice and I are more alike than many people I know that are the same age as me, and I know she feels the same way. Age has no limits, and I now have no more fears of aging. My new relationship with Alice, and being a part of PALETTE is all to thank for that.
As we wrap up our program, the remaining times we spend with one another become more and more precious. Today, we painted our vases, which are to be fired once again. It was very exciting to see how our creativity rooted from our different backgrounds. Not only was our uniqueness reflected in the structure of our bases, but also in the choice of colors. It’s incredible how close we have become with our PALs in the past few months. I have learned so much about Bertha as a person, and have also gained so much knowledge about intergenerational gaps as a whole. The biggest thing that this program has offered me was a chance to embrace aging, and to not fear what is to come. I have come to see how aging is a beautiful process and how wonderful our life experiences can be. I will take these values with me as I continue on my path to becoming a healthcare professional.
Gina Pak, graduate student in Pharmacy
In today’s activity, everyone glazed the totem vases that they made a couple of weeks earlier. Creating our totem vases were really fun because we got to use our own hands to work and mold the clay into a vase that symbolized important events or parts of our lives. My vase was simple but it had flowers on it to symbolize this beautiful tree by my house that would bloom big pink flowers every spring. Sadly, that tree has died but it was a big part of my childhood because when the wind blew and the petals would fall from the tree, they would cover the grass in a pink blanket. So, I used the glaze to paint my flowers pink and I colored the rest of the vase a mint green. Lucia’s vase had a lot of texture and I liked how she colored the top of the vase a yellow because she was very excited to put daffodils in the vase because those flowers and her vase would look great together. She also colored the rest of her vase mint green and the fact that we both chose this color was by pure chance. When we realized we both used the same colors, we talked about why we both liked mint green so much since it is a very tranquil and calming color. Lucia talked about how when she was younger she loved bright oranges but now she likes paler colors because they are more soothing. I personally never liked bright colors but Lucia and I are similar because I like pale colors. It was great doing this activity and getting to know more about Lucia and how she and I are actually more alike than we would think.
Sana Zahid, graduate student in Pharmacy.