We started the weekend with a dance session led by Itamar. Although we were here with new and more people then in last November, we picked up where we left off: at the metronome.

But first warming up ofcourse. We started on the ground, relaxing, becoming aware of our bodies and stretching until we were ready to get up and dance. In a matter of minutes Itamar had us moving all our body parts, in all directions, preferably at the same time. By putting attention to all the different body parts one at a time, starting with the toes and feet and ending with the head, chin and eyes, he gave us a set of tools to work with. A little later we got some more tools: ‘pause’ where we could choose to pause for a few seconds and then start moving a different body part, ‘explode’ where we could move one body part very quickly and ‘moving through the space’ instead of staying at one spot. Suddenly the room seems to be filled with those wacky inflatable tube men.

Last time in November I had seen the dancers, who go to class weekly at Dance for Health, dance with the given tools and it looked so good that I felt that it wasn’t for me: someone who isn’t a dancer and who doesn’t necessarily love to dance. But joining in from the beginning of the session, slowly building up the movements, really took away that barrier. I still didn’t feel like a dancer though, but that wasn’t needed because I wasn’t really thinking about anything. I was just trying different movements and different combinations. Exploring what my body could do, really. I was just me and my body and nothing else.

Next up we formed pairs. That’s where the metronome came in. The hypnotising rhythm of the simple ‘tick tock’ sound doesn’t imply any existing dance style, like ballet or tango. Also it doesn’t give an atmosphere that can make your movements flowing and soft or strong and sudden for example. That was very freeing.

After a break where we massaged our partner, which I felt did a lot for our bonding actually since I didn’t know my partner yet, the pairs would first move together for a bit. To me it felt like we weren’t really dancing together at that point, but next to each other. We were facing each other and there was some attention there, but we were still exploring our own things. Or at least I was..

After that every pair would dance for 5 minutes together in front of the rest, to the rhythm of the metronome. For some people it was obviously awkward to dance in front of others. I think this could have something to do with the relationship between the two. Them not knowing each other well enough maybe.

Something interesting happened when Esther and Céline started dancing together. They were practicing with Itamar and the metronome last time in November as well. Esther wasn’t in her best physical shape the past few weeks and she decided to stop halfway their 5 minutes. She just lay down on the floor and stayed there until Céline danced her way next to her and ‘picked her up’ with her energy.

Afterwards we had a group talk about what we had experienced and some of the keywords that were named were: trust, courage, imagination, freeing, narrative and creative.

I really liked the session because it felt like I was dancing without having to memorise steps. Afterwards I felt relaxed but also tired as it was physically challenging for me.

Marc Vlemmix – DFH, dancer, parkinson’s
Rosan Chinnoe– DFH, (not usually but today:) dancer
Fenna Schaap– DFH, (not usually but today:) dancer
Nynke Vermaat– (not usually but today:) dancer
Yolande Andeweg– dancer, parkinson’s
Esther de Vos – dancer, ms
Céline Treurniet – dancer, rheuma
Monique Benthin – dance teacher
Wilma Vreeling – dance teacher
Danielle Taele – dance teacher
Sara Houston – dance and parkinson’s researcher, educated dancer
Monica Gilette – dance teacher
Itamar Serussi – choreographer