Members of the Town Break group worked with choreographer and artist Janice Parker for seven weeks before making the film, as part of a residential placement, to explore the impact of dance for dementia sufferers.
"The reaction of some of the participants to the film itself will also be included. "We showed people the footage of themselves and that was really powerful," Ms Parker explains. "They were amazed, delighted, ecstatic.
"Some had forgotten having the experience, although I suspect there is an emotional memory which remains. We filmed their response and that will be edited into the film."
The scheme involved taking dance to members of the group – some of whom could only participate in a seated position in their chairs – with the choreographer attempting to use it to bridge between her world and that of the dementia sufferers."
Seems this work is similar to the 1993 paper that Heather Hill wrote, Out of the Cupboard ... to the Brightness emanating from her thesis. Excellent paper, well worth reading.
"This paper outlines a 1993 research study which attempted to describe and understand moments of experiential meaning within the dance therapy process for a patient with dementia. The writer places the study in the context by discussing the nature of dementia and the common view of it as loss of self.... The main discussion .... revolves around the understandings gained concerning the meaning of the dance therapy experience for the patient. The paper concludes that dance therapy offered not only a quality experience in the moment but a change in the patients sense of self."
"The viewing of the dance experience led her to reflect on her past both inside and outside of the sessions. 'It's brought back things from long ago to me.' 'I only thought yesterday I must have grown up with strength.'"
And more of the person with dementia's own words,
Here are some of E's as she summed up the experience during the last video viewing session:
- "Thank you for bringing me out of my shell";
- "It's brought the dullness out from me ... to the brightness";
- "And I think it's brought me out ... Wake up!";
- "So that's brought me out of my cupboard".
Learn more about dance movement therapy with dementia. Go to http://www.adta.org/Default.aspx?pageId=378243 and click on DMT with Alzheimer's Disease.
Learn how to bring dance to people with dementia. Learn how to use music, movement, props and humor to engage people with dementia to express themselves, be more lively, and have fun. Sat. & Sun. June 2 & 3, Newton, MA.