My Summer With Dancing Heart™

I had the marvelous opportunity to spend the summer teaching along with and learning from the work of the dancing heart™. I want to share some impressions  I will take with me in my journey:
Observing the joyous interactions that took place in the spirit of play was powerful. I saw minds, bodies and spirits come to life when engaged in an improvisational game or creative play moment.
At Wilder, we engaged with participants in a game of “catch”. The ball started as an imaginary rubber kickball but as it was passed it transformed (without prompt) to balls of the group member’s choosing. We had baseballs in which we perfected our swing, tennis balls, basketballs, footballs and volleyballs.
With each transformation of the ball, an elder would share and show us his/her technique in throwing or hitting and the rest of us would practice our own! As the invisible ball was passed around the group, I loved to see the physical and emotional commitment involved in getting the ball to its next destination!
Nothing is more powerful than the ancestral beat of music. I watched music become the bridge between “acting funny” (which, we do often in our PLAY) and one’s day-to-day behavior. A calming wave settled over the group many times when we began with sound and let it naturally move into our bodies. Sure enough, it brought us focus and freedom to make bold choices in our interactions. The way we interact around music is deep.
More than one time throughout the summer, the elders followed a storyteller on a journey to embody its characters and moods. I remember the gentlemen of the VA walking through the story of the Seven Sons with Peter.  Enwrapped in the direction of the story, there was no hesitation from the men when Peter stopped to ask “and what did he say?”  The men responded in-character as if it were second nature. Stories moved from words we follow to living contained in our own bodies.

Megan Flod Johnson

MFA  Candidate
Theatre for Youth
Arizona State University

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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