“You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine,
You make me happy when skies are grey,
you’ll never know dear, how much I’ll miss you,
please don’t take my sunshine away”.
Holding space for connection.
Listening and responding.
Improvising and offering.
Invitations and travelling.
We await the arrival, fairy lights alight, urn a-boiling, dance floor taped down, sheep wandering on leads, horse snuffling, dogs looking at the plates where soon the scones will lay. It is, of course, a tea dance day at Longlands!
As the rain tinkles on the cowshed roof, a white van full of life a stories arrives. I stand on the make-shift ramp and play all the popular waltzes I know on the accordion. Watching the kerfuffle of getting the very sweet eldery, dementia care group out of their van and transported into the world that Rachel Freeman has beautifully crafted in the barn is humbling, and the sun has done a classic ‘Everybody dance shine time’.
In these times of life is it becoming more and more important to look after each other and carve spaces for connection, engagement and fun. And this is absolutely what has happened this afternoon. We landed into the magical space together just in time for the rain to start up again. Wrapped in blankets we chair dance and for those more mobile we glide and step around the floor. It is amazing to watch the body memory of these traditional dances; for sure these were women who used to whip around the dance hall and share their sparkles. I can see their sparkles still today.
Music and movement are hugely healing tools and a great invitation to be present in the body. Something I have witnessed through my nan’s journey of dementia, is the power of song, singing, music and dance. It has been an absolute privilege to meet and work with these women and carers today and a great reminder that we NEED to keep sharing what we know, love and connect, connect, connect!
Some quotes I remember from the session;
“yes that’s great”
“waltz, I remember”,
“I can’t dance I’ve got dodgy knees”
“you know all the words”
Here’s to more positivity and possibility.