In Your Shoes Dance Project gives young people and elders opportunities to meet, share their stories and dance together.
From the start of 2020 five Dance Artist’s have been working in different areas of the Highlands with groups of elders and young people facilitating intergenerational collaborations with a focus on the question “What has dance meant to you over the years?”
Ruby Worth, Eden Courts Dance Practitioner, talks about her experience of being ‘In Your Shoes’ at Whinneknowe in Nairn.
This is my first experience of working within an elder care setting and I am really appreciating the opportunity to meet, move and have fun with an exceptional group of people. My Monday’s have come alive with his-and-her-story’s, celebrating a centenary of dance and moving moments.
I’ve danced all my life,
As a young man Ronald fought in WW2 and was a Japanese prisoner of war in Singapore. After the war he returned to Scotland married a Canadian and immigrated to Canada. In Canada he was a member of the Forres and Nairn Society, playing the accordion and mouth organ and taking part in all the highland country dances in the area. At 99 years old Ron decided to return to Scotland and celebrated his 100th birthday at Whinnieknowe in November.
Q, “Why did you choose to come back to Scotland?”
A: “Scotland is my home, there’s nothing like the homeland when you loose everybody, nothing like the place you were born”.
Sons and daughters are attending the dance and movement sessions with their parents. Lisa Robinson is Sally Fallon’s daughter. They tell me about the musical theatre productions they were involved in at the Palais in London. How Sally played the lead in Annie get your Gun. A photo album is shown around the circle, pictures of productions, reviews “Annie had gusto and comedy”, reads the caption. I can see these traits in Sally still. I also witness how the group appreciates the opportunity to find out more about each other’s lives.
Music is a key element to the sessions. The room is full of voices singing, “Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be, the futures not ours to see, que sera sera, what will be, will be”.
“I imagine you’ve all been a great number of things, a daughter, a son, a friend, a worker, an adventurer,” I say after the song. “ A Grandmother” someone calls out “ A Great Grandmother” calls another.
It is a real joy and privilege to spend Monday afternoons ‘In your Shoes’ and particularly to have so many family members joining in with their loved ones. Next week I will be going into Nairn Academy to work with young Sports Leaders, sharing the skills, tools and reflections on working with movement and dance with elders. Following this some of the students will come in to join the sessions with the elders and their families.
What has it been like for you I ask participants at a session’s end:
It’s taken 10 years off me, it’s good for us, having fun together.
It’s a great bonding opportunity.
It feels like we’re friends, I feel connected to everyone.
Finally Ronald turns to me yesterday:
You can do anything you want in this life,
I can’t wait till my next one
In Your Shoes continues. The project is funded through National Lottery, Awards for All Scotland and produced by Louise Marshall, Producer for Dance and Accessible Arts, Eden Court Theatre.
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