Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Small things mean a big deal.

I have been teaching dance to members of Alvernia University's Seniors' College. The Seniors' College is a program that provides opportunities for continued learning to Senior Citizens.

The people involved in the Seniors' College are wonderful, adventurous, and exciting!

Today, one of my Senior Dancers told me she did her homework. "There were a bunch of old movies on over the weekend on Turner Classic Movies. With Ethel Merman. I made sure I watched them and I saw some of the steps we're doing!" (I didn't actually assign homework, but I appreciate the connection!)

The objective of this class session is to experience the big Broadway Movie Musicals of the 30's, 40's, and 50's from a kinesthetic perspective. The Senior Dancers provide a unique perspective, having lived through these time periods. Undergraduate students are also dancing in class with the Seniors; there is a cross-generational bridge building, community development, and a service learning component to the course.

After class, another student drops into her chair, slaps her legs, and shakes her head. I watch, slightly worried that I will need to intervene and make sure she is okay. She sighs. "I always feel so much better after this class!"

The power of dance is amazing!

I receive so much joy hearing my students understand and acknowledge the knowledge they are gaining.

In another class, with the undergraduate students, I witness my pedagogical practice re-translated and re-embodied. One student is helping another with a step. He is using my language and my physical cues. I am shocked and humbled to see myself in someone else. Literally. As an educator, I have a huge responsibility to these students. And I am so proud and impressed and humbled that they are engaging so deeply.

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