Exhibiting Octaband April 20-22, 2013 Presenting Enlivening People with Dementia through Dance/Expressive Movement, April 21, 2013
NYSTRA's 18th Annual Conference
"Rediscovering our Roots as we Reach for New Heights"
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
I've completed the coursework for the CMA training. It has been an amazing journey.
Here are Karen Bradley, our program coordinator and teacher in front, with my cohort group, left to right: Valerie Blanc, Kate Rouleau, Cathy Nicoli, myself and Iwalani Kaluhiokalani
We took a field trip to the MFA to find examples of what we were learning in the paintings, sculptures, and in life:
Golden by Felix Gonzalez Torres wasn't much of a stretch, but was certainly one of my favorites. On the far right you can see what we called Vibratory Phrasing.
At the end of our last class, Karen read a bit from the end of her book Rudolf Laban,
"If we followed Laban's lead, we would honor the planet and ourselves more richly and more clearly. We would dance with the birds and the stars, yes, but more importantly, we would dance with each other. In a world of pain and strife, that would be miraculous."
Below is a video shared by Dr. Richard Coaten, Dance/Movement Psychotherapist who specializes in working with people with dementia. He asks re this video, what it has to do with dancing with people with dementia. He says he sees "FLOW IMPROVISATION FUN SENSORY EXPLORATION PLAYFULNESS MUSIC DANCE KINAESTHETIC AWARENESS NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION NO RIGHT OR WRONG BUILDING RELATIONSHIP THROUGH MOVEMENT".
Sophie & Itay Yatuv (Contact Improvisation Festival: Ibiza)... filmed by Aaron Brando
From time to time, people ask me for resources for wheelchair dancing. Below is a video from DanceSport that shows partner dancing where one or both partners are in a wheelchair.
Just because a person has limitations of one kind or another doesn't meant they can't dance. It simply means they may dance differently. Dance/movement therapists regularly work with people in wheelchairs. Click here to find out more about dance/movement therapy.
You can hear dance/movement therapist Erica Hornthal interviewed by Lori LaBey about Dancing through Dementia on Alzheimer's Speak Radio Show. People with dementia often are in wheelchairs, so you may learn more by listening to this interview.
This photo is a dance performance dance/movement therapist Rachel Federman Morales choreographed with a semi professional dance company and a group of children with children with cerebral palsy at HMS school in Philadelphia. In this particular photo, they are using the Octaband.
I was just enjoying a post on LinkedIn, Alzheimer's & Dementia Professionals group. Lorie wrote with an accurate depiction of what a meal can be like in a dementia facility, and others responded with their stories. I was glad to remember this story about my dad, so I'll post it here:
My dad was quite personable, liked by staff and other residents. I came in to see him one evening, and 3 people within 2 minutes told me proudly that he had just enjoyed the ice cream they gave him. Also interesting, his younger brother used to come in every Thursday and bring him a HUGE Hershey bar with almonds. I begged my uncle to bring him a smaller bar because Dad was gaining so much weight that it was getting harder for me to take him out. When my uncle died, despite all of the other things my dad forgot, like that my mom died or who I was exactly, or that I'd been there 2 minutes earlier, he never forgot that his baby brother had died and no longer brought him his Hershey bars on Thursdays.
I'm so looking forward to the Society for the Arts & Dementia Care conference in Worcester, UK Sept. 5 - 8. I'm signed up for workshops with Dr. Richard Coaten, "Going by Way of the Body in Dementia Care" and "‘Finding the Harmony in the Dissonance through Movement, Dance, Music, Voice, Song, Story and Contact" and "Interactive Theatre with Older People and Staff in Care" by Chris Gage. I am looking forward to meeting folks with whom I've communicated over the years and or whose books I've read, like Dalia Gottlieb-Tanaka and John Killick. I will be presenting on Friday morning "An embodied approach to nonverbal communication training for caregivers of people with mid to late stage dementia: creative dance as the great leveler". It should be a very exciting event with such creative thinkers all together in the same space sharing our knowledge.
Saturday's festival, sponsored and run by Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre, was a wonderful event. I wore several different hats (although they all looked like my brand new Red Sox cap purchased on the way to the Festival):
I displayed info about dance/movement therapy and the American Dance Therapy Association. I met several people interested in knowing more about the profession, which I was glad to share.
I exhibited the Octaband. Many wonderful people, adults and children, were introduced to and played with the Octaband for the first time. Several suggested that OT.s and PT's would love it. The people who bought it were very excited to try it out, with family, after school programs, and creative dance for 4 y.o.s among others.
I thoroughly enjoyed dancing with Back Pocket Dancers in Bouki Dances the Kokioko plus a short improv with the Octaband, a first. Looking out into the audience, I saw friends and family looking joyously back up at us.
Several people were on their way from here to there and wondered aloud to me, "What is happening here? Why dancing?" I told them that the Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre which was housed there was sponsoring an event to raise awareness of the value of dance for social action. One man asked quizzically, "Dance for social action?" He sounded cynical. "How does dance do that?" I showed him images of me dancing with elders in wheelchairs, others dancing with children with cerebral palsy, and then gestured to the people dancing in the streets, of different ages, colors, cultures, dancing together to build community. He was impressed and agreed that it was dance for social action.
This Saturday, June 9, Back Pocket Dancers will be performing two pieces from our program, Dance Me a Story, plus an additional surprise piece at 5:40.
If you haven't been to Dance for World Community Festival in Cambridge, MA, you are missing out. The mission of this festival is "Using the power of dance to create social change." That would be right up my alley. The Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre is doing such a wonderful job of promoting the power of dance to build bridges within community.
This is the Octaband being used in my workshop at the ADTA conference a few years ago.
Thankfully, my daughter will be helping me, because I'll also be exhibiting Octabands at the Festival. You can find Octaband also on Facebook. I understand if you like the page, it will help Octaband be found more easily on search engines.
This is what my husband recently said on Facebook below the photo of me sewing the first prototype of the Octaband by hand: "Who would ever know that this photo I took of my wife sewing stitch by stitch, the first Octaband in 2005 that she was bringing in to the world a tool so important and therapeutic for those with Alzheimers, dementia, autism, young adults, children and others. Her vision was and is extraordinary!" I could not have done it without the support of my husband and daughter.
and caregivers an opportunity to watch, listen, and understand. That is the subtitle of an article, Let Me See You Move, by Cari Jackson in the Spring 2012 edition of Preserving Your Memory Magazine, published by the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation for which Jackson interviewed me.
Here are some quotations from the article:
"Dance/movement therapy fosters channels for communicating."
"The simple act of acknowledgement can ease the anxiety that people with dementia often experience when they are unable to communicate their needs and feel they are being ignored."
"The motor actions of dance often spark memories."
"The dance therapist skillfully acknowledges every movement and emotion that group members offer, creating a safe atmosphere for expression and bonding."
Download the magazine for free to read the article for a more in-depth look at what a dance movement therapy session with people with dementia looks like.
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.