As an intern with Kairos Dance Theater, I have had the opportunity to be a part of the Dancing Heart program for the last five weeks, and I am amazed at the impact it has had on my life.  I’m still young, a 19-year-old college student, and I didn’t interact with the elderly in my community very much until I started interning with Kairos.  Already, I have become aware of my assumptions about older adults, but those quickly melted away as these older folks shared their stories with me.

I have heard some of the elder participants in the Dancing Hearts Program say that it is the best part of their week.  Sometimes it makes me sad to hear an elder say that, and I wonder what they do the rest of their week, if any loved ones visit them, but I remind myself that what we do is unique, and so much joy is shared in a room as we all dance and tell our stories together.

Lately my mind keeps coming back to one woman, “Hazel”.  She is always so cheerful every week, greets me with a smile, and joins in full force with the dancing.  One week we came in, she had a bad fall a couple nights before.  She had bruises on her face and was sore, but she was okay.  Some would have complained or sought pity from others, or have not shown up to the Dancing Heart session, but Hazel came, with a smile like always, and such a grateful attitude.  She said she was just happy she was okay, and joined in the dancing with all her energy, putting a big smile on my face.  The pity I felt at first was replaced by respect and admiration for her outlook on life.

When I think about Hazel and her amazing attitude of thankfulness, humility, and her zeal for living every day to its fullest, I step back and take a look at my own life.  I remind myself to stop and smell the roses, to cherish the little things in life, be thankful for what I have, and to dance like no one is watching.

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