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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wheelchair Dance? Yes they Can! : Dance Therapy for Dementia/Alzheimer's


“If dance is an expression of the human spirit, then it is best expressed by people of all abilities.”



I was fortunate to attend the NAAP conference and a presentation by Michelle Nolta. During her presentation she mentioned Wheelchair Dancing. I have to be honest and mention I had not heard of this (in the nursing home setting) and decided this would be our feature article this month. I believe once you read this article, see the resources and watch the videos you will be blown away and inspired to add wheelchair dancing to the monthly activity calendars.

Dance programs are all the rage this year with TV shows such as Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance and America’s Got Talent.

Dance was a popular and inexpensive social event for our seniors in their youth. They went to dances, country club socials, military dance gatherings and ball room dance events. Many seniors met their spouse at the dance events.

The 1930 to 1950 era ushered in Big Apple Dance, Fox Trot, Swing, Tap, Waltz, Boogie Woogie, Conga, Jitter Jive, Cha Cha, Champagne Waltz, Jitter Bug, Tango, Mambo, Harlem Shuffle, Swing Trot and the Western Swing just to name a few. From 1950 to 1960 they were dancing the Bristol Stomp, Chicken Dance, Bop, Dirty Dance, West Coast Swing, Bunny Hop, The Pony and everyone remembers the Twist.

In the 1930’s they were dancing to Irving Berlin, Rudy Vallee, Dorothy Fields, Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Charles King. The 1940’s are memorable for Glen Miller, Bing Cosby, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. The 1950’s Fat’s Dominoe, Charlie Parker, King Cole Trio, Al Jolson, Doris Day, Frankie Laine and Dinah Shore.

Activity Directors are well known for stepping outside their comfort zone and trying something new and innovative. But as with all programs, wheelchair dance programs should be a resident choice and not a program where everyone is just wheeled in to the day rooms and expected to participate. This type of program can be enjoyed by residents who have no previous experience in dance. It offers them an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone. But because of this, residents must volunteer on their own accord and agree to attend a dance / movement program.

For many nursing homes the majority of the residents are in wheelchairs, while Assisted Living may only have a few residents in wheelchairs. This is an innovate way to get your residents moving while at the same time have a great time learning about dance and movement.

For great examples of wheelchair dance that is sure to inspire you, please take the time to watch this video on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/AmericanDanceWheels

Wheelchair dancing also referred to as adaptive dancing and can be coupled with an able body dancer. Think of the possibilities from networking with your local dance school students and teachers, high school volunteer groups and senior volunteer groups who love to dance. The Yellow Pages lists all kinds of dance companies who you could collaborate with to provide instruction and also bring their students to entertain and instruct your residents. The American Dance Therapy Association has Dance Movement Therapist in many states.

It is a lot easier to teach residents in wheelchairs dance styles such as ball room dancing, waltz and fox trot but all kinds of dance styles can be learned. Some may just need a little more patience for dance styles such as swing, hip hop, etc.

There are several types of Wheelchair dancing. Group Dance which includes wheelchair users as well as people who are ambulatory. Duo Dancers which is two persons each in their own wheelchair, free style dancing which is with a single person dancing in a wheelchair. There is also Duo (couples) dancing where a person in a wheelchair is coupled with an ambulatory person or a professional dancer.

There are many people who might be shy about dancing and quietly sit and just watch the fun. Hopefully, they will be inspired to put on their dancing shoes and give it a try, or just clap their hands, sway to the music, stomp their feet and waive their arms. But either way there are positive benefits to watching a performance or practice session. Not many will be able to just sit in their seats for long when upbeat, lively and moving music begins to play.

Every kind of dance is shown on YouTube that can help guide and instruct you. To make it more interesting, the Activity Director can design wheel chair dance classes around seasons and themes such as:

1. Cinco De Mayo Day and teach Mexican Hat Dance or other dances
2. St. Patrick’s Day and teach an Irish Jig
3. May- May pole dance
4. Mother’s Day & Father’s day invite the grand children in to watch a performance or participate.
5. June-Senior Prom and invite the local high school seniors to ballroom dance.
6. July- Luau and teach Hawaiian Dance
7. August- Have a fair and a talent show to high light the senior’s dancing
8. September- Country Western Day and learn country line dancing.

Have cultural awareness day and each month learn a different style of dance such as African Movement Dance. Most states have dance studios specializing in different styles of dance and could provide a demonstration. See Anticipation of Dance- Amazing Grace Score Points Against Aging Video http://www.dancetherapymusings.com/2011/03/anticipation-dance-game.html

Invest in fun therapeutic props such as scarves and ribbons. There is also a product called Octaband that can be incorporated into the movement portion of your class. Octaband is fun, interactive and promotes individuality and group cohesion through movement for people of all ages and abilities http://www.octaband.com/ www.dancetherapymusings.com


“Because dance also requires memorizing steps and working with a partner, the activity provides mental challenges that are crucial for brain health—including reducing the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to researchers at Albert Einstein Center.” Lori Batcheller www.Disaboom.com


There are many benefits to Wheelchair Dancing;


Restore a sense of normalcy in a person’s life
Reduce stress
Builds confidence
Opportunities to socialize and reduce social isolation
Toxins release through sweating
Build stamina
Maintain flexibility
Build strength and muscle tone of arms and shoulders
Increase endurance
Improve coordination
Manage weight
Increase self esteem & personal worth
Opportunity to be playful
Pleasure
Satisfaction
Laughter & Joy
When you exercise you feel better-dance is exercise and movement
Elevate mood
Diminish agitation
Decrease blood pressure
Increase level of excitement and anticipation
Increase opportunities to be spontaneous
Opportunity for Self expression
Failure Free Event so it is purposeful and meaningful
Movement relieves aches and pain
Increase in appetite
Increase alertness
Sleep better
Rejuvenate the spirit
Reminisce
Maintain long term memories
More connected and awareness of the body
Dance provides a safe place to express feelings



Jasmine Pasch wrote “We must not underestimate the effect of enjoyment. Having fun is a serious business, with dramatic effects on human well-being.”


“Philosophically, dance therapy fits absolutely within a person-centered approach to dementia care. It is about acknowledging the whole person (physical, emotional, social and spiritual).It is about quality of relationship – reconnecting the person to him- or herself and facilitating positive relationships with others. It is about engaging in meaningful activity. In other words it is about enriching the quality of life for people with dementia. Dance therapy is particularly appropriate in working with people with dementia because dance therapists’ training and skills in the non-verbal area enable them to meet the person with dementia in his or her world.” Adapted from Movement is the Medium

Watch for the magical moments and inspiration among your staff and residents as you incorporate this program into your weekly planned events. This will lead to not only anticipated events but to rehearsals, performances and maybe even competition at your state wheelchair dance competitions. If there are none in your state, why not coordinate with other nursing homes and assisted living facilities and begin your own dance competition.

There are all kinds of wheelchair dancing styles, Waltz, Tango, Fox Trot, Quick Step, Swing, Country Dancing, Latin Dancing such as Samba, Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, Jive, and Paso Doble.

Many seniors are competing in competitions such as

American Style Wheelchair Dancing
Latin Style Wheelchair Dancing
Ball Room Wheelchair Dancing
Country Dancing Wheelchair Dancing

Don’t rule out the resources right at your front door, because watching community groups can be enjoyable and enriching experience to, dance schools (Irish, Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Ball Room Dancing, Hip Hop, Lyrical) country line dancing at local restaurants and pubs, senior dance groups at senior centers, university dance programs (students), local talent competitions, YouTube and Dancing with the Stars programs. Have a talent show and invite employees to show off their moves. One facility I consulted for, the MDS coordinator was a national champion ball room dancer...who knew! Have your own Dancing with the Stars program.

Eliminate old stereotypes about the elderly. Yes, they can learn and they have shown this many times to us over and over again. Expect more! This is the generation that loves to learn new things. Try all kinds of music from America and other countries, experiment! They will be more open to new types of music than you would have ever thought possible. You just might find that the residents will love the wheelchair dance program if you present the program with enthusiasm, passion and a commitment to succeed.

You can certainly teach your residents about Wheelchair dancing, but if you lack experience or comfort in this area you can contact American Dance Wheels Foundation for an instructor or a local dance school. If you want to have a trainer come to your facility and develop a cutting edge dance group program contact Donna Newman-Bluestein Med BC-DMT LMHC who is a board certified Dance Movement Therapist and Public Relations Chairperson for the American Dance Therapy Association. You can contact her at 617-969-2436 or dbluebird@rcn.com she can design programs not only for your dementia patients but also for your high functioning ambulatory patients. The American Dance Therapy Association has a database of certified dance therapists for your state.

There are several instructional videos through the Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation Library that are free and they will also pay for the postage to ship it to you through their free lending program.


http:www.youseemore.com/reevePRC/default.asp

1. Introduction to Wheelchair Dancing-video
2. Two Step Wheelchair Dancing-video
3. Waltz Wheelchair Dancing-video

Try to involve the front line staff. Consider what countries your staff is from. For example, you might have staff from the Caribbean. Once you begin playing Calypso, Bob Marley or Steel Band Music, they won’t be able to resist joining your group, they will become more playful, interact and dance with your residents.

Wheelchair dancing movement offers oceans of possibilities, endless rewards for you, your staff and especially your residents.

“If dance is an expression of the human spirit, then it is best expressed by people of all abilities.”
www.DancingWheels.org


Wheelchair Dancing Resources:

Books:

Invitation to Dance
By Dr. Heather Hill
University of Sterling
Dementia Services Development Centre
Provides guidance for anyone who would like to help people with dementia move expressively to music. It gives suggestions for approaches, props, music and vivid descriptions.
http://www.dementiashop.co.uk/node/102

Fact Sheet:

Free Download
Arts & Creativity
Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation


Articles:

Dance therapy with People with Dementia
By Donna Newman- Bluestein
http://www.octaband.com/dementia_therapy.htm

Preparing for Dance therapy Group with People With Dementia
By Donna Newman-Bluestein
http://www.octaband.com/articles.htm

Movement as the Connection to Playfulness and Empathy

Donna Newman – Bluestein and Heather Hill
Journal of Dementia Care
Must request permission for this article
September / October 2010

In Touch- Reflecting on 15 years of dance movement in residential home for older people
By: Jasmine Pasch
http://www.jasminepasch.co.uk/old_site/in_touch.html

Out of the Cupboard…to The Brightness
Dance Therapy Process with a Person with Dementia
By: Jasmine Pasch
http://www.jasminepasch.co.uk/old_site/brightness.html

Dance Therapy and Communication in Dementia
By Jasmine Pasch
http://www.jasminepasch.co.uk/old_site/dementia.html

Music Can Facilitate Blood Pressure Recovery in Stress
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15296685?dopt=Citation

Michelle Nolta –Speakers
Recreation Therapy Consultants http://www.rec-therapy.com/



Videos:

Passage: A Disabled Dancer Dances Again
Aquarius Health Care, 2004. VHS

Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
Paralysis Research Center
Free Lending Library
Introduction to Wheelchair Dancing
Two Step Wheelchair Dancing
Waltz Wheelchair Dancing

Aero Inc.
A Boston non-profit featuring mixed abilities dancers.
Watch Video on Wheel Chair Dancing


Axis Dance Company
Oakland, CA
Watch Video on Wheel Chair Dancing
Axis Dance Company has performed its innovative body of work in theaters and dance
spaces at throughout the U.S. as well as overseas. AXIS has become an internationally
known resource for physically integrated dance and is one of a handful of companies
setting a standard for professionalism in this emerging field.


Dance Detour
1935 South Archer Avenue, Suite 413
Chicago, IL 60616
312-341-1018
Watch Video
Founded in 1995, Dance Detour is Chicago’s first professional “diverse-abilities” dance
company comprised of multi-talented artists with and without disabilities. The focus of
their work is solely dedicated to the art of physically integrated dance and collaborations
that includes dancers of all abilities.


DanceAbility International
Eugene, OR
541-342-3273
Their mission is to encourage the evolution of mixed-abilities dance by cultivating a
common ground for creative expression for all people. The mission is accomplished
through performance, educational programs, teacher training and workshops.


Dancing Wheels Company & School
3615 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44115
216-432-0306


Full Radius Dance
PO Box 54453
Atlanta, GA 30308
404-724-9663
Explores, through modern dance, the sweep of the human experience in a world that
contains a diversity of attitudes, actions and outcomes, affects change for persons with
disabilities, dance artists and the general community.


GIMP Project
400 West 43rd St. #21S
New York, NY 10036
212-268-0976


Infinity Dance Theater
220 West 93rd Street
New York, NY 10025


Light Motion
Seattle, WA
206-328-0818


Sins Invalid
San Francisco, CA area
510-689-7198
Sins Invalid is a performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities,
centralizing artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized.

YouTube Videos

Sharp Rehab Center
Wheel Chair Dancing
ABC News Wheel Chair Dancing
Wheel Chair Dancing-Lessons Taught In Private Home
Slow Waltz
The Dancer with Tiny Legs
MS Senior 2011 Wheel Chair Competition
Wheel Chair Square Dancing Video
Alice and Her Dancing Spirit
Wheel chair Dancers Mary and Shelley
Cool Dance Wheel Chair Dance


Other Resources:


American Dance Therapy Association
National Dance Education Organization
Authentic Movement Community
Center for Movement Education and Research
Mobility Advisor to see videos of Wheel Chair Dancing
Wheel Chair Dance Sport Association
Wheel Chair Life Style
Adaptive Dancing
American Dance Wheels Foundation
Axis Dance Company
Full Radius Dance
Icelandic Dance Sport Federation
International Dance Sports Federation
International Paralympic Committee
Malta Wheelchair Danceport Association
U.S. Wheel Chair Dancing
Wheel chair Dance Sport Australia
Wheel chair Dance Club of Holland
Wheel chair Dance Sport Committee
Wheel chair Dance Sport in Russia

Wheel chair Dance Sport USA
Private Instruction by US Wheel Chair Dancing
Train the Trainer Classes
Sandra Fortuna 856 869 0010 which is located in NJ and will come to you.

WheelchairDancers
Beverly’s Story at Sharps Health Care Video
American Dance Wheels foundation

Canada
Wheeldance.ca

Wheelchair Dance in USA
www.wheelchairdancesportusa.org/
www.wheelchairdancesport.org/
www.infinitydance.com/
www.axisdance.org/
www.fullradiusdance.org/
www.danceability.com/
www.steffinossen.org/pages/new_special_interest_classes.html
www.karenpetersondancers.org/
http://revdance.org/home.htm
www.med.nyu.edu/hjd/harkness/
www.k2dance.com/wheelchair_dancing.html
www.americandancewheels.com/



To Provide Training to Activity Directors

If you want to have a trainer come to your facility and develop a cutting edge dance group program contact Donna Newman-Bluestein Med BC-DMT LMHC who is a board certified Dance Movement Therapist and Public Relations Chairperson for the American Dance Therapy Association. You can contact her at 617-969-2436 or dbluebird@rcn.com she can design programs not only for your dementia patients but also your high functioning ambulatory patients. The American Dance Therapy Association has a database of certified dance therapists for your state. Collaborate with a local dance instructor which you can find dance schools in your local yellow pages.

Wheel Chair Dance Technique for Teachers
chris@infinitydance.com (or phone 917/204-8294).

http://www.americandancewheels.com/seminars/teachers-2010-03.html
California
Absolutely Dance Sport
http://www.absolutelydancesport.com/page9/page12/page12.html

Dance timelines: History of Dance
Street Swing Web site has a complete time line of dancing.
http://www.streetswing.com/histmain/d5timlne.htm


To Provide Training to Activity Directors
If you want to have a trainer come to your facility and develop a cutting edge dance group program contact Donna Newman-Bluestein Med BC-DMT LMHC who is a board certified Dance Movement Therapist and Public Relations Chairperson for the American Dance Therapy Association. You can contact her at 617-969-2436 or dbluebird@rcn.com she can design programs not only for your dementia patients but also your high functioning ambulatory patients. The American Dance Therapy Association has a database of certified dance therapists for your state. Collaborate with a local dance instructor which you can find dance schools in your local yellow pages.

Wheel Chair Dance Technique for Teachers
chris@infinitydance.com (or phone 917/204-8294).

http://www.americandancewheels.com/seminars/teachers-2010-03.html

California

Absolutely Dance Sport
http://www.absolutelydancesport.com/page9/page12/page12.html

By Sandra Stimson CALA ADC CDP CDCM Executive Director

Courtesy: www.nccdp.org

4 comments:

ballroom dancing said...

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wheelchairs said...

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Wheelchair India said...

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
Scooter For Handicapped Person

Keep Posting:)

Wheelchair India said...

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
Tricycle Handicapped
Keep Posting:)

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