The Elders Project
Pamela calls a meeting with all of us after emailing to tell us that the group has been approached by the Arts & Health Project – Healthy Aging Through the Arts for a multi year contract. This is an exciting prospect for several reasons that we discuss at length in the small room adjacent to the KJ office.
First of all, the project has funding to hire us to facilitate dance workshops for elders in the Downtown Eastside through Carnegie Community Centre. They will manage the marketing of the program will be able to support consistent outreach workshops in order to bring in participants from many areas and milieus.
Once the classes begin, we would be conducting workshops every week. Through much deliberation of the timing with current Carnegie Dance Troupe workshops and our own busy schedules, we decided it would be wisest to conduct Outreach workshops several times a month starting in May 2014 until we begin the program in September. We would work up to a performance at the annual gathering June 7th of the other Arts & Health project sites.
Some of the issues that were discussed were the openness of all workshops and how to transition from the momentous success of CONNECT into having new participants. These were brought up out of the fact that Karen expressed a resolve to keep all workshops open to everybody. What this translates to is a need to have two facilitators at all workshops, as in the beginning the class may need to focus on different tasks.
The Carnegie Dance Troupe’s comfort with the material and desire to be challenged further with choreography and more in depth improvisations must be paired with physiologically appropriate experiments for a mixed ability elders group. This is an exciting challenge that requires much sensitivity and time to respect and develop the transitions.