Somatic Revelations Ty Tedmon-Jones' blog devoted to information sharing, professional practices and diversity awareness & multiculturalism in the fields of Dance/Movement Therapy and Professional Counseling
The Dance to DTR Blair Cronin's blog on the wonders, trials, and tribulations of becoming a certified dance/movement therapist in California
Iris Bräuninger's article, 'Dance movement therapy with the elderly: An international internet-based survey under taken with practitioners' is being published in Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy (2014). Routledge / Taylor & Francis has included the article in an online article collection focussing on dementia and memory loss (http://bit.ly/dementia-articles) as part of a series on neurological disorders.
Thanks to friend, dancer, fellow Certified Laban Analyst, and Assistant Professor at Roger Williams University, Cathy Nicoli for sharing the link to this story, Rainy Days and Mondys on NPR's This American Life with Ira Glass. It only took me 7 weeks to finally sit and listen. I was delighted to hear Karen Stobbe's story of her attempts to apply improvisational skills to her life with Mother, with whom Karen, husband Mondy and 15 y.o. daughter were living with. Karen is a wonderful woman whom I've met over the past several years at the Pioneer Network conferences.
Karen's story reveals how much easier it is for her husband to apply improv skills to engage with her mother than for her. That is a story very familiar to me, and is why I think that providing a compassionate environment other than one's original home can be an appropriate alternative. As I listened to the story, I was reminded of the difficulty I had when my father's story conflicted with my internal sense of myself and my history. It was particulary difficult when I brought my father to my home for a family dinner the first time and he asked why I hadn't invited my mother. Didn't my dad know who I was, didn't he know that I would never fail to invite my mom if I could? That's why I needed to impress upon him the memory that my mother had died. Never mind the pain I caused him, I was protecting my sense of myself. It took me a few times of re-injuring him with this reminder before I realized that the compassionate thing to do was to join his reality.
Karen Stobbe calls this "Yes, and". She offers creative ideas on her website, In the Moment. It's the only moment there is for people with dementia. In fact, it's really the only moment that any of us have.
James Vanden Bosch created a resource list with wonderful suggestions for some of the best videos, documentaries, books, and websites I've seen and learned from. I think most of these would be on my list of what I think it most important to know when Caring with Persons Who Are Living with Dementia.
This looks like it will be a wonderful conference. Wish I could go, but maybe you could and let us know what you learned.
The Arts as Inspiration for Learning * Teaching * Making * Living
October 31-November 2 Barbara C. Harris Center in Greenfield, NH
Early-bird pricing in effect through September 15 Full conference, commuter & day rates are available. CEUs are offered. Graduate credit may be available from Plymouth State University. Contact Dr. Trish Lindberg for details.
Tuesday, October 7 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. JF&CS Headquarters 1430 Main Street, Waltham, Massachusetts
Lunch will be served.
The training is free to people caring for their loved ones at home. Seating is limited.
Please RSVP to email@example.com or 781-305-7107.
Hearthstone Alzheimer Care is offering a free training using its award-winning I'm Still Here™ approach at JF&CS Headquarters. Participants in this training session will learn valuable strategies for:
Reducing repetitive question asking Reducing resistance to bathing Dining out with your loved one Successful communication techniques Making your home "dementia friendly" Activities you can do with your loved one Maintaining relationships with family members and friends Creating memory cues that can help maintain independence
Joan Green's improvisational dance class begins tomorrow evening.
Where: Massasoit Elks Lodge, 55 Bishop Allen Drive, Cambridge MA 02139 When: Wednesday evenings from 7-9pm September 10, 17, (no class 24 Rosh Hashonnah) October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, November 5, 12, 19, (no class 26 night before Thanksgiving), December 3, 10. Fee: 12 classes - $264 6 classes - $132 If you choose the 6 class option, you may add more at $25 per class.
Focus this semester will be on devising simple structures that work well in improvised performance.
Info: firstname.lastname@example.org Joan Green is a dancer, choreographer and visual artist who currently directs Back Pocket Dancers, an inter-generational dance company performing at schools and elder venues. She has taught an on-going workshop in dance improvisation since 1992 called Dancing Outside the Lines. Joan's priorities in teaching dance are deepening connection with self, expanding creative responses to stimuli, building skills in group dance and creating community. Joan enjoys challenging the stereotypical notion of what kinds of dance are appropriate for elders, and expanding the horizons of her students in both music and dance.
The aim of this conference is to explore the emerging recognition of the centrality of attachment theory in understanding the particular needs and vulnerabilities of people who have memory losses linked with ageing.
It will be bringing together different contributions from both informal and professional carers to share their experiences and will be looking at the way memory loss raises fears of disappearing connections in us all.
We will also explore how being alongside those who are marginalised and impacted by loss of memory are empowered by the use of reminiscence groups, music and the arts.
We will discuss how we can learn as a community about a shared narrative of loss associated with memory difficulties leading to deepening attachments, and the renewal of emotional bonds with the creation of new meanings.
I am so glad to see this focus on attachment theory as it relates to people with dementia. Of course, attachment is relevant throughout the lifespan, but with increasing loss, as I age and lose loved ones, whether through death or geographic relocation, I find the need to surround myself even more consciously with like-minded, hearted, and souled others, to reinforce my feelings of secure attachment.
As well, I find the relevance of Winnicott's Holding Environment increasingly essential in my work with people with significant dementia. That is why I am creating a U.S. network, pending my technological mastery, of Dance and Dementia so that together we can create the holding environment necessary, hopefully with and for those who cannot do it alone. Dancing alone? I guess that could be all of us. Contact me if you would like to be part of that network.
And, if you would like to subscribe to Dance for Connection's monthly newsletter, you can do so here: http://bit.ly/RDcjBQ .
Older adults & people with dementia should have an opportunity to dance every day. So it says on this 2014 Poneer Network quilt.
Next Friday, September 5, I'll be leading a Memory Cafe for JF&CS in Waltham, MA on the power of dance and movement to inspire, uplift and heal. It should be loads of fun.
A couple who had been to a similar workshop I led for the Alzheimer's Association of Mass./NH for people with early stage Alzheimer's and partners in July told others they had loved it and that September 5 would be a treat. Download Memory Cafe, September 5, 2014.
The Café will be open from 10:00 a.m. to noon. The location is JF&CS Headquarters, 1430 Main Street, Waltham. Guests can park in any of the spots surrounding our building. There is no charge. Donations gratefully accepted. Family member of all ages, including kids, are welcome.Those requiring personal care assistance must bring a care partner with them, as staff and volunteers are not able to provide this assistance.
Contact Beth Soltzberg at 781-693-5628 or email@example.com.
Once again, I return to the question of what is dance. This time it's motivated by a familiar situation. A regular member of a dance/movement therapy group I run was distracted by someone looking in through the window as we moved expressively to music. I suggested that in the mainstream U.S. culture, it is unacceptable to dance unless one has had a few drinks. I have been told this so very many times in so many settings. I asked one woman if this was true in Cuba when she was growing up. She said no, that in Cuba everyone danced, young and old. I asked the woman from South Africa if it were true in South Africa. She said no, that in South Africa people danced without a reason. I asked an African American woman if it were true in the culture she group up in. She said that in her home, dancing was against their religion. They had to sneak to dance. Then this woman, ordinarily so quiet, told us that in prayer meetings, it could happen that people began to move spontaneously. This was not called dance, "but it was dance" she told me. "I know dance when I see it." When I shared with the group that that although I talk plenty, dance and expressive movement is my native and therefore most basic and necessary language, it seemed that the entire group settled a bit more deeply into our bodies.
South Shore Senior News, Helping Seniors Age Well and Enjoy Themselves While Doing It!, www.southshoresenior.com
The August 2014 issue is a magazine devoted to informative articles mostly about How Happiness Can Happen. On the last page, editor Greg Porell included the following:
Dance Programs Revitalize and Inspire
Dance for Connection is an innovative program based in Newton that offers exhilarating dance for older adults and people with dementia. The programs are directed by Donna Newman-Bluestein, a dance/movement therapist and founder of Dance for Connection. Newman-Bluestein has worked with older adults for 35 years. Her programs are designed to revitalize and inspire improved health through movement, enhancing the mind-body connection.
The programs provide an open structure that incorporates participants’ gestures, ideas and questions, resulting in each group being unique and participants feeling empowered. The programs also train dance professionals and caregivers to bring dance to older adults and communicate non-verbally with people afflicted with dementia. Donna is available to lead programs at assisted living residences, long-term care facilities, councils on aging, senior centers and housing for older adults.
I appreciate Porell's invitation to share information about my program which I offer in the South Shore, along with the Greater Boston Area. His edits of what I had written were minor, except for one word. I would never say that a person is afflicted with dementia. It is not mine to determine whether a person is troubled, burdened, or distressed by a disease. I simply note that they are diagnosed with the disease.
AgeSong in San Francisco and Oakland is offering 2 talks, Dementia Beyond Disease: Forgetting The Nonessential and The Depth of Eldership as part of their Speaker's Series. with Dr. Allen Power and Nader Shabahangi. Having just heard Dr. Power speak at the Pioneer Network conference and getting his book, I highly recommend getting to hear him. firstname.lastname@example.org
This workshop should be wonderful. Two very seasoned Mettler-based teachers and a wonderful group of experienced and novice dancers in the fresh New England air. I'll be there.
Sound, Beat, and Movement: A Dance Improvisation Weekend Workshop Saturday and Sunday August 30-31, 2014 (Labor Day Weekend) 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Windhover Center for the Performing Arts Rockport, Massachusetts
Mary Ann Brehm and Nancy Lob teaching
SOUL CLAP HANDS AND SING Joan Green and Friends 2 workshops for dancers and other seekers followed by a performance
When: Sunday, September 21, 2014 Where: Dance Complex, Studio 2 (am), Studio 1 (pm) Cost: fee for the day (both workshops and performance) $85, $80 BDA members am workshop: $45, $40 BDA members pm workshop: $45, $40 BDA members performance: $10
Info: contact Joan Green 617-492-8994 or email@example.com Registration: send a check payable to Joan Green to her @ 30 Alewife Brook Pkwy, Cambridge, MA 02140 to arrive by 9/18/14 to reserve your space.
morning (10 – 12:30): Longtime colleagues and improvisers Bonita Weisman and Joan Green will co-lead a dance improvisation playground that will provide a safe space to take risks, explore edges, practice anything goes. We grow as artists and people when we come up against our limitations and break through them. We will experience surprising ourselves in solos, duets and ensembles.
bag lunch 12:30 – 1:15
afternoon (1:15 – 4:15): Improvisational master musicians Syd Smart (percussion) and Glynis Lomon (cello, aquasonic, voice) will lead a workshop on using voice, percussion and found instruments to create sound for dance and for adding right vibrations into the universe.
late afternoon performance (4:30 – 5:15): Bonita, Joan, Syd and Glynis will explore what happens when the four of them combine forces.
bios of the presenters:
Bonita Weisman has been teaching, performing and choreographing in Hartford since 1983. Growing up in Manhattan enabled Bonita to study with such notables as Bonnie Bird, Mary Anthony, June Lewis, Louis Falco, James Truitt, Carol Fried and Simone Forti. In addition to dance technique, Bonita’s training includes studies in dance therapy, expressive therapy, Laban Movement work and folk and social dance styles. In the Hartford area, she has taught at Connecticut College, Trinity College, the Performing Arts Academy and the Hartford Conservatory. She is currently an adjunct professor at the Hartt School of the University of Hartford. Bonita’s main focus is improvisation and creative process. She has been facilitating a movement jam called, “Don’t Come Prepared” for 25 years. In recent years she has found herself playing freelance rubboard with several zydeco bands. When she is not dancing or playing she is busy helping others on their path to wellness as the owner of West Hartford Massage Therapy.
Joan Green is a dancer, choreographer and visual artist who currently directs Back Pocket Dancers, an inter-generational dance company performing at schools and elder venues. She has taught an on-going workshop in dance improvisation since 1992 called Dancing Outside the Lines. Joan's priorities in teaching dance are deepening connection with self, expanding creative responses to stimuli, building skills in group dance and creating community. Joan has created choreography for children, for adult professional and non-professional dancers and has brought dance to many different communities. Her choreography has been commissioned by Dance Across the Ages, Dance in the Fells, Cambridge Rindge and Latin Dance Company, Fashionless Dances, First Night Boston and others. She was chosen to teach for Lifetime Arts Creative Aging Libraries Project at the Grove Hall Library, Dorchester in spring 2013 and returned to teach there in spring 2014. Joan enjoys challenging the stereotypical notion of what kinds of dance are appropriate for elders, and expanding the horizons of her students in both music and dance. Joan paints in her studio in Somerville and on the south coast of Jamaica, where spends part of each winter.
Syd Smart – Syd began studying percussion with his father and majored in Music Education at Central State University; in 1973, he received a Black Music Fellowship to teach and study at Bennington College in Vermont, where he completed his B. A. Degree. He was the founder of "Friends of Great Black Music", a Boston based organization established in the early 1970's. Syd is co-founder of Boston's annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert, now in its thirty-fifth year and the world's oldest living tribute to this master. In 1992, Syd was a resident performing Artist at the World Exposition, "Expo 92", in Seville, Spain. Syd's performance experience includes: Art of Black Dance and Music, Rod Rodgers Dance Co., Boston Art Ensemble, Sam Rivers, Bill Dixon and many more.
Glynis Lomon – Improvising cellist, vocalist and aquasonic player Glynis Lomon graduated from Bennington College in 1975 with a degree in Music/Black Music. At Bennington she studied with musician/composer Bill Dixon and continued to perform and record with his ensembles until his recent death. Glynis has also been privileged to play with Arthur Brooks, Jimmy Lyons, Cecil Taylor, Butch Morris, William Parker, Joe Morris, Greta Buck, Masashi Harada, Lowell Davidson, Raqib Hassan and many others. In the 90's she and multi reed player Dave Pek performed in the Boston area with their group Leap of Faith. Over the last decade she has been playing with pianist Eric Zinman and percussionist Syd Smart in New Language Collaborative. Their CD Unified Fields with Mario Rechtern on reeds is available on Ayler Records. Glynis began her collaboration with dancers at Bennington College where Judith Dunn, dancer, and Bill Dixon had brought their distinctive way of working together from NYC in 1970. That began a tradition of musicians and dancers exploring sound and movement together, dancers sometimes leading, musicians sometimes setting the structure, but always being intensely aware of each other, while still working from their own core. Glynis also began playing music with Syd Smart at Bennington in 1973 and for the last several years has been performing with Syd and dancers Joan Green and Bonita Weisman.
The Octaband™ is a fun, interactive tool which promotes individuality and group cohesion through movement for people of all ages and abilities. As a dance/movement therapist, Donna Newman-Bluestein was motivated to design the Octaband to stimulate movement in the elderly with dementia. The stretchy material, bright colors, and innovative design stimulate self-expression, spontaneity, and awareness of others. The center circle provides a strong visual focus, and the 5 1/2" hem at the end of each arm allows those with limited grasping ability to participate. Go to www.octaband.com to learn more.