Journey Into Joy

At the Wilder Day Program we started our warm up with a  combo of Chieftains and Ricky Skaggs music which opened the door to a Western-themed morning. “Those cowboys were always travelin’ somewhere, and telling their stories ’bout their adventures’,” shared Molly, a Dancing Heart enthusiast, always quick to share her thoughts and lead us in exercises she learned from the nuns in Catholic High School.

Our story prompt became, “Tell us about a memorable journey you’ve been on.”  For a group with Alzheimer’s and dementia, this can be a challenge, but after having tapped into our body intelligence, the brain followed suit and we heard some rich and wonderful stories.  Betty said they didn’t travel much with such a big family, but told of how her family of 13 kids would have hoedowns in the backyard with Dad on guitar and others on spoons, washboards, the works! All those kids dancing and kicking up their heels.

Martin shared about his annual solo motorcycle trips to Canada.  He smiled and shook his head at the memory of all the wonderful mix of people he would meet and the beauty that he witnessed. Elders ’round the circle nodded and affirmed each story offering exclamations like, “Aren’t you something!” and “You’ve done some incredible things.”

We then put our hoedown music back on and decided to re-live Betty’s backyard hoedown.  There was knee slapping, toe tapping, heel kicking, and do-si-do spinning. The cherry on the cake was when Frank, a young man with advanced Alzheimer’s, who generally sits in his chair disconnected and a bit worried, jumped to his feet and pulled me into a full throttle country jig, his rhythm was on and his feet were jamming.  Everyone clapped and whooped for this man who suddenly caught the breeze of life again, and let it take him on a journey into joy.



The mission of Kairos Dance Theatre is to transform and revitalize individuals and communities. We work with older adults in intergenerational settings to liberate the healing power of interactive dance and story. We achieve our mission by engaging the skills of professional teaching artists.

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