Dance for PD® Training Reflections: what I learned about being a dancer & teacher
Last week I spent three days at Dance for PD® Headquarters in Brooklyn exploring the art of dance and teaching with 70 other dance for Parkinson’s teachers from all over the world. I wanted to share some of my discoveries from this intensive, immersive and magical experience:
Dance is a co-creation between student and teacher; a partnership between the dancer, their own body and any support apparatus their body needs (chair as a duet partner). Movement has meaning – the truth of that meaning can be different for each body.
How can we be in dialogue with our limitations? The value of honoring your own truth and trusting what your body is telling you over an “expert” version of the truth.
It is important to truly feel what is happening in the body: what is your normal in this moment, not competing with others or with your old self.
Dance allows you to listen to your body in a way you may not be ready to otherwise. Dance is creative expression, a gateway to a sense of abandonment that every BODY should get to experience.
Physically integrated dance is new – we are writing the rules as we go and have to be willing to fail.
What if we create movement from the limited body part(s) instead of around them? Embracing the uniqueness of the disabled body.
You don’t have to have all of the cognitive information to be successful in this work. You can trust your instincts as a dancer and as a teacher.
Teaching is not about ATTENTION to every detail and bracing for and anticipating every need or possible scenario. It is about PRESENCE in the room, creating the safe and welcoming container for everyone to explore movement and human connection and INCLUDING MYSELF in the community.
Dance for every BODY was reflected in the room of teachers who are doing this work all over the world. We all came from different backgrounds, different types and levels of expertise, but we all shared a love of dance and the passion of making it accessible.
When we are dancing together, whether it is a room full of 70 Dance for PD teachers or 10 Reconnect dancers: there is nothing to fix, nothing to prove, nothing to DO. It is a space to BE: to connect, to collaborate and to be curious about what is possible.
I am so grateful for this opportunity to learn and grow as a teacher and refuel as a leader. The connections to other teachers in this work made me feel part of something bigger than myself.
Yours in Art and Action,
Reconnect with your Body Teacher
Founder & Artistic Director of Art as Action
P.S. I got to connect with one of my Dance for Every BODY heroes, Jerron Hermann from Heidi Latsky Dance (pictured above). Watch this incredible video of Jerron embodying authenticity and maximizing the expressive capacity of dance.
fall Artivist adventures
- On September 16 we celebrated the Reconnect 7th Birthday Partywith 30 dancers, family members and our board. See the silliness and the love in the picture above – enough said!
- Art as Action led a Reconnect dance break during the Parkinson Association of the Rockies’ annual e3 Conference in September – we had 420 people with and without Parkinson’s dancing together to Stevie Wonder – it was amazing!
- Artistic Director Sarah Leversee becomes VISIBLE – speaking on Facebook Live about the piece featuring voices of women ages 30-70 that is exactly in this moment of history.
- For the third year in a row, Art as Action has been invited to lead a Reconnect dance break during the University of Colorado Movement Disorders Center Parkinson Symposium on Saturday October 27.
- Capturing Grace Film Screening, Panel Discussion and Dance Experience with filmmaker Dave Iverson, Dance for PD founder David Leventhal and local dancers with PD – including the Reconnect Dancers! Thursday November 1st, 4:00-7:00pm, in Aurora. Free & Open to the Public. RSVP here.
- Art as Action will receive awards at Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) Check Ceremonies for three different counties (Broomfield, Jefferson and Boulder) this week! The Reconnect dancers will perform at the Boulder ceremony.
- We will perform at the annual Dance is for Everybody Showcase at Boulder Public Library on Saturday November 4.
Save the Date: (in)VISIBLE
Saturday November 17 at 7pm & Sunday November 18 at 4pm at Colorado Conservatory of Dance 3001 Industrial Lane, #12, Broomfield, CO 80020
Is there a story within you that feels invisible? What would it feel like for that part of you to be seen? What would happen if by making it visible you could open someone’s eyes or make someone feel less alone?
Contributing Artivists: Carol Cowley, Margie Dahlin, Amy Dressel-Martin, Wayne A. Gilbert, Jen Hightower, Jan Leversee, Sarah Leversee, Robin Moore, Leann Roberts, Tina Schoenherr, Karen Talcott, BJ Suter with Dave Crotser, Patrick Mueller and Annabelle Denmark