It seems to me that most of the elder participants in Dancing Hearts anticipate our arrival. At many sites, when we walk in, there are at least a half-dozen people sitting there and waiting for us. When we greet people, one at a time, their faces light up with recognition and anticipation.
I say, “Are you ready to do some dancing and singing?”
Francis replies, with eyes modestly cast down, “Oh, I can’t dance!”
I say, “Oh, I remember last week you were dancing all over the place!”
Francis giggles, and as she looks at me, her eyes twinkle.
Francis has great flexibility and stamina and mobility, actually. She watches my feet and duplicates the patterns I’m making. She moves her hips and shoulders, especially when we’re dancing to Elvis! Although Francis seems very shy because she doesn’t talk much, her facial expressions while dancing tell a different story! As with so many of the elders with whom we interact, I find myself intrigued about who this lovely lady is…there are so many stories!
When I first met Joseph, he spoke not a word, at least not a word that anyone could understand. One week, Margo, one of the Dancing Heart apprentices, sat down and gave him her attention for a long time. She actually understood what he was telling her, and she communicated this to the rest of us. It turns out that Joseph is an expert on the popular music of his day! Now he speaks right up when we put on a song he knows, and he tells us who wrote it and who had a hit with it. He requests songs which we then chase down in iTunes and bring for him the next week. I am certain that Joseph thinks about Dancing Hearts during the week, and anticipates the day.
So many times I have seen it happen…Happiness is contagious!