Category Archives: older adults

Dancing with Art: March 27-31

Am delighted to be facilitating a week-long intergenerational workshop at the end of March on five afternoons. Ages 9 to 70+ are welcome! Below is the description from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria website:

Spring Camp 2017: Dancing with Art (ages 9+)

Monday, March 27 – Friday, March 31 | 1:00pm – 4:00pm

At the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Photo of a marionette-type of figurine with an arm raised and arm out, in front of a mixed media painting with varied colours and textures.
Photo Credit: Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

“Move in new ways! Join Joanne for a week of expressing yourself through playful dance activities and creative arts. Improv movement sessions will be held in various locations around the Gallery where inspiration will be sought from paintings, sculpture, sound, poetry, buildings and the land. Over the five days the group will also collaborate on creating a site-specific dance piece.

“All abilities are welcome and activities will be adapted to accommodate each participant. There is no wrong move, and no prior dance experience is needed!”

For the cost and registration please see the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria website.

Accessibility notes: The Dancing with Art venue is an older building, and although it has washrooms that are designated as mobility accessible, the width of the restroom doorways and turn-around space may be too narrow for some participants who use wheelchairs. There are ramps to the restrooms and to the gallery rooms. The gallery is lit by bright lighting (including fluorescent lights); it may be useful to bring a hat with a visor and/or sunglasses if you are sensitive to lighting. We will spend time in two studios that have windows , natural lighting and access to fresh air; as well as movement sessions in some gallery rooms that have no windows; and we can do some activities outdoors if it is not raining (please bring weather-appropriate clothing).
Please be in touch with Joanne if you would like any accessibility details, such as the dimensions of doorways and layout of the restrooms.

Dancing in the Morning – Wed. Jan. 4th

Dancing in the Morning: an inclusive dance session
Art of 8 people dancing in front of a rainbow, three seated and five standing; below is a heart, humminbird and music notes
Art by Naomi Kennedy.

Wed. Jan. 4th, 2017
10:30am
-11:30am
at Cedar Hill Recreation Centre’s auditorium (3220 Cedar Hill Road), in Lekwungen (Songhees) and Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) Homelands.

All abilities welcome.
Wheelchair accessible.
Please refrain from wearing perfume/scented products on the day of the event; thank-you.

Free!
(Donations welcomed: all funds raised will go to the Dance Alchemy project, for dance sessions with people who are refugees and newcomers.)

Dancing in the Morning brings together participants from various community dance groups and interested community members. The event is hosted by Dance Alchemy & the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria, in partnership with Saanich Parks & Recreation, and facilitated by Joanne Cuffe.

Session details: There will be a warm-up in a big circle, dance activities for meeting new people and interacting in smaller groups, a dance party, and a cool-down in a big circle. There are chairs available if you would like to be seated some or all of the time.

If you would like to donate but cannot attend the event: please donate by cheque to the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria with “Dance Alchemy” in the memo line (or donate online through CACGV’s website) and please send a note to Joanne with your name so that we can make sure your donation is allocated to the dance sessions with people who are refugees and newcomers. Thank-you very much! For a description of the project, please see the Dance Alchemy page.

If you require support to participate, please come with a caregiver, friend, staff or translator. Thank-you! We very much apologize that there are not accessibility funds available for this event (e.g. no bus tickets, etc.).

Dancing in the Morning on Jan. 4th is focused on adults. Participants from day programs, group homes, seniors’ residences, dance groups and local communities are welcome. If you are part of a group that will be attending the event together, please RSVP estimating how many will be in your group.

To be in touch: for questions and accessibility requests, please contact Joanne.

Optional photo area: Please note that there will be two designated areas in the room throughout the event: 1) an area near the main entrance for people who do not want to be in any photos, and 2) an area at the far end of the room for people who fully consent to being in photos at the event. Joanne Cuffe will be the caretaker of the photos, which will be used in spreading the word about community dance initiatives with Dance Alchemy (see below), the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria, Saanich Parks & Recreation and Creative Momentum (this website).

Backgrounder:

Photo of a dozen people dancing, a few holding hands, some on their own, five people seated and five people standing.The Dance Alchemy project began in 2015 through the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria and facilitated by Joanne. In 2016 four artists collaborated with four community dance groups, with people with diverse abilities, older adults, and newcomers, and five dance groups came together for a Celebration in June 2016, Photo of 11 adults in a circle, with everyone reaching one or two arms up above their heads. Some are holding hands. Three people are using wheelchairs and eight people are standing.with funding from the BC Arts Council.

Photo: 7 women facing the camera, smiling, posing with arms out holding ribbons.Participants with the Wellspring dance group came up with the idea of having an event inspired by the Friday Namaste Music program but focused on dancing.

Photo of 6 dancers (ages 30-100) seated in a semi-circle, each with their right hand reaching to their right foot, and smiling to the camera.Dancing in the Morning is focused on everyone present being participants. The next time the event happens, it could also include a bit of time for performing, if a few dance groups would like to each share a dance they have created as a group.

If you have a suggestion for an accessible venue for future Dancing in the Morning sessions, please be in touch (the Cedar Hill Rec Auditorium is booked most weekday mornings except Jan. 4th). Thank-you.

For other upcoming opportunities to dance (e.g. Adaptive Dance classes Mondays at 1pm; 50+ Dance Troupe Mondays at 2pm, etc.), please see the dancing page.

Want to help create a 50+ Dance Troupe?

Dancing in community is an excellent way to engage with aging.

This is an invitation to join a new dance group, which will be shaped by participants’ interests:

50+ Dance Troupe
*the group will come up with its actual name once it meets.

Mondays 2:00pm-3:30pm
At Cedar Hill Recreation (3220 Cedar Hill Rd) in the Dance Studio.
Free. Facilitated by Joanne Cuffe in partnership with Saanich Parks & Recreation.

Oct. 17 – Nov. 14 (5 weeks): Dancing + Brainstorming sessions. Sessions include an hour of movement (a warm-up and guided improvisation activities for moving as a group) and a half-hour of brainstorming ideas and discussing what everyone is interested in.

All abilities welcome. No prior dance experience needed.

50+ is just a suggestion; adults under 50 are welcome too if there is room.

No need to register – just come by the dance studio on the dates that you can make!

If you are interested in the dance troupe but not available this autumn, there will be an opportunity to join the group in the New Year (there will be an intro session on Monday Jan. 23rd at 2:15pm-3:30pm at the Cedar Hill Recreation Dance Studio).

For more information: contact the facilitator or just come by a session!

Background context:
-Earlier this year, participants in Joanne‘s Dance for Brain Health class at Cedar Hill Recreation suggested creating a seniors’ dance troupe. We’re glad to move the good idea ahead!
-Dancing is fantastic for brain health, as well as physical, emotional and social well-being. Research has found that frequent dancing is one of the best activities for reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Move (and laugh) to Music

A regular highlight of my week is connecting with residents at the Douglas Care Community, for a Move to Music session on Wednesday mornings. There is much laughter and playfulness; adaptive dancing, with relevant music, is excellent for engaging with people who are experiencing memory loss.

After each session I rate how it felt to me, in terms of connecting and engaging with participants, out of 5 stars (with 5 stars meaning ‘great’). The past couple months’ sessions here have felt like: 6 stars, 7 stars, 9 stars (a new record), 6 stars, 3.5 stars, 7 stars, 6 stars, and 8 stars. Thank-you to Leslie for impromptu photos of us with an Octaband (star/ sunshine/ octopus) dance prop a few weeks ago:

An especially beautiful day of programs

Today was an especially beautiful, full day of programs: it started with lively laughter, ribbons and a dance jam circle with people at Wellspring Support; followed by a fox trot, waltz and duets with people at the Cridge Seniors’ Centre; and then flamenco, merengue and graceful collective movement with people at the Victoria Immigrant & Refugee Centre Society. The day also involved confirming details for a couple of workshops in March: one at Capital Mental Health Association’s Bridge Program, and another at the Victoria Brain Injury Society. In the evening I prepared for the rest of the week, including for tomorrow morning’s weekly session at the Douglas Care Community.

It is an honour to get to connect and move with so many wonderful people. Participants continually remind me that there are so many ways to express joy without using words.

Joy & cohesion ~ at this week’s programs

I have thoroughly enjoyed the past week of community dance programs; the groups have felt even more uplifting and interconnected than previously.

Below are some compiled anecdotes – things definitely are busy even though community centre classes are on break for the summer! So far this month there have been 81 new people at programs, and this week I have danced with 100 different people. It feels wonderful to make so many connections.

Notes from the past week:

  • Towards the end of last Thursday’s adaptive dance session Photo: 6 people dancing different movesat Garth Homer Society, we were all moving in a circle in the same direction. A participant started doing the grape vine and a staff person mentioned to him that she had not seen him taking such big steps before. Two participants started improvising together in the middle of the circle doing partner dancing. When the program started in February, a staff person observed that “it’s wonderful to see so many clients across a wide range all engaged by the same activity – it’s rare.”
  • That afternoon, after a Dancing for Brain Health demo where 25 members of Seniors’ Social Connections at James Bay Community Project had danced seated in a circle, a participant in her late 70s danced over towards me doing an exuberant Merengue step – we danced together for a bit and she mentioned she planned to dance the whole way out of the building.
  • I began yesterday with Dance Games with a group of 4-6 year olds at a Burnside Gorge Community Association camp. I was amused by how a brand new activity emerged when participants heard my instructions in a different way than I had intended. The participants also had creative suggestions for how to move around and under a giant jelly fish prop. Continue reading Joy & cohesion ~ at this week’s programs

A delightful month

Photo: 7 people posing with their own a dance move
International Dance Day sidewalk party with an awesome group of dance-walkers!

It has been a delightful month of dance – thank-you to everyone who has been part of it!

From improv with a lovely group at the International Dance Day sidewalk dance party, to adventures in movement at the Dancing for Brain Health and Dancing for Wellbeing classes, to  joyful connections at day programs and seniors’ residences, and to the past week of workshops and choreographic project with Crystal Pite and Kidd Pivot dancers – I am grateful for the enlivening, interesting month.

(The Kidd Pivot company also performed in town last Wednesday: a brilliant, stunning The Tempest Replica. )

Brain Awareness Month

On the last day of National Brain Awareness Month (March),

“Dementia is a general term that refers to a variety of brain disorders. More than 70,000 British Columbians have dementia of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form. The risk of dementia doubles every five years after age 65 but the disease can strike people as young as 40. Evidence shows that changes in the brain that lead to dementia can begin up to 25 years before symptoms appear.”

“That’s even more reason to take charge of your brain health. It’s never too late or too soon. Learn more about maintaining and improving your brain health.”

Alzheimer Society of BC website

103 years and dancing

An 103-year-old person joined my dance class this morning & rocked it. (-:

…which made me realize the age range I have been mentioning is a bit young; so I have changed the About page to mention Creative Momentum offers dancing, not for “ages 4 to 94+”, but for “ages 4 to 104+.”

And from a video search for “103-year-old dancing” (altho not the same person as this morning): Mary does the Electric Slide.

A full afternoon

I’m grateful for such a wonderful afternoon:
I lead Dancing for Fun for a beautiful group of 27 older adults at Oak Bay Lodge, part of a day program for people who have Alzheimer’s and memory loss;
then I facilitated playful improv activities – subbing an Elementary Modern class with dedicated youth;
then I learned more of a Reel with Glengarry School of Celtic Dance, and then took an Advanced/Pro Modern class at the Victoria School of Contemporary Dance.
This morning I also had a lovely visit with Bisia from VoiceWorks.
Tomorrow morning I’m off on an outdoor dance adventure with Ingrid from SNAFU Dance Theatre.