Joyful Gallops

One of the many gifts that the Dancing Heart™ offers is the opportunity to take the time to discover the many faceted stories that each person carries. How easy it is to make assumptions on how one looks, talks and acts.

It is a Tuesday afternoon at the Ebenezer Adult Day Program in Minneapolis. We are dancing to Cowboy music. Roy Rogers’ “Tennessee Stud” is playing on the iPOD.  We imagine we are all riding a horse, a horse whose name could be Trigger, Stardust, Golden or Black Beauty. Everyone is tapping their feet in a cacophony of walks, trots and gallops. There is laughter and a lot of “whoopee” shouts.

When the song ends, John a participant who is usually quiet, grins, raises his hand and says quietly,” I used to break horses in South Dakota when I was young.”

Eyebrows raise and the mic is handed to John who begins an animated retelling of how one tames a horse. With physical mastery he shows the group how to grab the horse and how to tie the reins. Here is a man who now lives in the inner city and leads a more sedentary life. But for this moment he transports each of us back in time to the ranch, he has us in the palm of his hand. We applaud John, honoring his vitality.

He then leads us in the next dance, Gene Autry’s, “Back in the Saddle Again”, I watch him shimmy his shoulders, wink, tap his feet and laugh with abandon.

I feel blessed in this moment. I look over at John and am grateful for witnessing a powerful part of his life’s journey.

– Carla


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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