Let’s Dance was intuitively developed and has been validated, adjusted, and inspired by recent brain science. There are key elements to the program that help your community have the most fulfilling experience.
The music brought to Let’s Dance is with the handpan, which is often used when we want to reduce stress and anxiety. Most communities living with daily challenges like living in a wheelchair and/or dementia along with other physical challenges are faced with daily stress and anxiety. This music is unique and soothing. Songs are included throughout the program that support the messages in the story and singing along to the simple lyrics is usually encouraged.
Bright Hawk offers stories of travel from around the world, reminding us of love, connection, and community. These stories bring in the spirit of welcome – the fun of diversity – and the adventure of life. The Let’s Dance program is a full experience from beginning to end, offering an opening that inspires imagination that includes nature and then it takes us on a journey to a variety of cultures that offer uplifting messages like “Ubuntu”. Ubuntu is from Africa and offers us an understanding of the importance of taking care of each other. While a story from Ireland might offer us insight into the spirit of welcome. Another example of Bright Hawk’s personal story of finding a home in their heart offers insight into the soul experience of life. The power of stories and images of nature are KNOWN to increase mood, bridge separation gaps, and build community.
Hollis personally welcomes EVERYONE to the program with eye contact and a handshake and then thanks each person in attendance at the end with a personalized gratitude offering and eye-to-eye connection. The entire program is personalized by using the people’s first names so that everyone can feel seen and included. Hollis adjusts the movement for each person based on their mood, willingness to move, physical challenges, and ability to follow directions. Each person is slowly encouraged to “Do their best!” in actions like raising their arms, moving to the rhythm, tapping/kicking their feet, and other dance moves introduced during the program. Hollis will often dance with people in attendance which creates a feeling of inclusion, celebration, and joyfulness for the entire community. Especially when the community knows that person doesn’t normally interact – a very common occurrence in Let’s Dance. The movement has been proven to improve mood, and increase overall wellness while dancing in itself is considered therapeutic. The personalized engagement has proven to help with inclusion, community building, and overall joyfulness.
Hollis offers gentle slow touches from a simple hand on the shoulder, a comforting handhold, to hugs offered freely. We all know the power of touch and Hollis also realizes not everyone wants to be touched. Hollis asks for permission when they can, looks for facial signs of discomfort, and goes slow in order to create a natural touch that offers comfort and healing. Since Hollis has training in the reduction of contagious disease they always wear a clear mask and wash/sanitize their hands numerous times during the program to decrease the risk of spreading contagions. Hollis and Bright Hawk are both fully vaccinated and masked.
Science shows that when humans connect – we feel better. Most of us know this naturally. We feel it in our own personal lives. The humans in the communities we visit are connected with each other, they see each other every day. Yet somehow they don’t always connect and with a little encouragement we can witness magic before our eyes when everyone feels welcomed, engaged, seen, and celebrated. Although we know it’s not magic, we all know it’s the power of connection!
Some of the movements in Let’s Dance are on purpose, they have been inspired by recent brain science that shows that when we lift our arms above our heads, we feel inspired. When we put our hands on our hearts we feel more present. When we give ourselves a hug we feel loved. These simple movements and of course the light aerobic exercise combined with the other parts of the Let’s Dance program we quickly find that moods are improved, people are more willing to engage with each other, and overall difficult behaviors are reduced. Let’s Dance is offering an engagement program that goes beyond just a feel-good hour, it lasts beyond that hour and often days ahead.
Both Bright Hawk and Hollis bring unique offerings to the program that bring flexibility, education, inspiration, and experience. Bright Hawk has been a storyteller for many years and has professional experience transforming perspectives with stories. She has brought storytelling into a variety of communities including corporations, families, spiritual communities, transformational events, and of course communities of older adults and special needs. Her experience helps her shift the stories for the audience, engage in structures that are known for inclusion, and has even been interpreted into 5 different languages (Live).
Hollis has specific training for people with dementia, people with special needs, and a natural intuition for engaging older adults. Bringing their lifetime of experience with people with special needs, their compassionate approach and their education as a caregiver has inspired Let’s Dance structure, need, and inclusion. Hollis also has an education and a passionate interest in psychology, trauma healing, racial equality, radical inclusion, mood enhancements, and changing the world one smile at a time.
Both Bright Hawk & Hollis hold personal experience in our oppressive culture and know the importance of authentic expressions and an all-encompassing community.