by Laura Karlin
On Monday, for our Dancing Through Parkinson's class, Sofia did things a little differently at the end.
We started with a Mirroring exercise, which we've done before. Dancers created two lines down the room and partners stood or sat facing one another. Beautiful music played and one partner led while the other "mirrored" their movements. Slow, smooth, lovely lines were traced through the air. Hands fluttered like birds in the wind. Feet traced circles like ripples in a pond. It was gentle and sweet. Then we switched who was leading and who was following, so everyone had a chance to try both roles. It was a wonderful chance to create sensitivity with another person, to find eye contact and to really soar.
Then we switched it up with a Soul Train Line Dance! Partners promenaded their way down the middle of the lines, and they were amazing! The footwork was fancy, the spins were exhilarating, the grins were wide. Whether a slow progression or a quick series of moves, each pair boogied with energy and abandon, and we cheered each other on. We maintained the sensitivity that we'd developed through Mirroring, and it allowed us to go further and bigger with our Soul Train partner dances.
At the end of class, people were still tapping their toes and the energy of the room was electric. There was a giddyness and an expansiveness. One of the dancers slid up to me and said, "That was wonderful. I felt like I could really move BIG and be SEEN!" It made me begin to think about why I love these classes so much.
Dancing Through Parkinson's is a safe place to be silly, to be joyful, to be expansive. Often in life, we are trained to tamp down our energy. We are trained to fit smaller spaces and to take up less room in the world. I think this happens more as we get older. And I think it happens even more so with a neurodegenerative disease—being trained to be less visible. These dance classes are a way to train ourselves to move big, to smile wide, to reach far, to take up space and to feel seen.
These dance classes are Soul Training.
Major props to Sofia Klass for a super-fun time today! (Sofia is an Invertigo company member, the Company Manager and a Dancing Through Parkinson's teacher. Read more about her here.)
More information on our Dancing Through Parkinson's program here. We have 2 locations now: Venice and Culver City!