I love dancing with people.  I always find that after the first, sometimes awkward moment, most people really love to dance. They just need to know that they are welcome, be assured that there is no “right” way to dance and experience a model that demonstrates that all abilities are welcome to join.  Hospitality is key: an open hand and heart essential, and great band a must.

Since most of my life has been about welcoming people of all ages and abilities to dance, developing our Kairos Alive! Intergenerational Dance Hall™ as an artistic structure that supports intercultural and intergenerational dance and music making was an important next step. Many delightful, surprising and amazing Dance Halls have followed.

Last April my colleague, Gary Glazner, Founder and Director of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, invited me to join him in Santa Fe, New Mexico for APP’s Dementia Arts Conference in collaboration with the New Mexico History Museum.  My job was to share my expertise in Creative Arts and Aging, lead a Kairos Alive! style “Dance Hall” with conference participants and  partner with a wonderful group of musicians who are part of Lifesongs.

All the key ingredients were there, plus Gary’s gift of poetry and creative play and a roomful of folks, from the youngest to the eldest.  We sang in Spanish and English. We had chair dancers and traveling dancers, a mother and daughter from Tibet, rock n rollers; we danced to a Low Rider song, sang and danced “Cielito Lindo” and rocked our “Soul Train” to “We Are Family.”  Participants created an art project at the far end of the room in-between finding new friends to dance with in community.

It was a wonderful opportunity to share the work I love with colleagues and new friends.  It was a sweet reminder that dancing is a language that we all understand.

-Maria Genné

Director of Kairos Alive!

Click on a photo to view images from our Dance Hall!  The featured image (above) and gallery is credited to the talented photography work of Dick Goldsmith.


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