Minneapolis Dance Company Helps Elderly Dance Again

By Liz Collin, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis dance company is getting attention from across the country for what it’s doing for our seniors.

The Kairos Dance Company is getting older adults to dance for the first time in years. The results are helping them live better.

Kairos calls it “The Dancing Heart” and it’s a program that gets an age group — often overlooked — moving again.

“I really believe everyone is welcome in the dancing circle,” said Maria Genne, artistic director for Kairos.

Genne started teaching just one dance class a week. Now, they’re up to six.

“We think about older adults and think they’re supposed to disappear,” said Genne. “Well, we’re missing out. There’s a whole cultural legacy that’s right in front of us.”

The dance company focuses on working with those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. And they’ve seen powerful results. They see more energy, better balance and memory.

“What we’re learning and realizing is even people with dementia can learn new things,” said Peter Podulke. “It’s like at the 15-minute mark somebody turned on the key like they were just waiting for permission.”

Volunteers have even danced with some patients in their last weeks of life.

“It’s a blessing every which way,”

The blessing gets back to their core belief, which is that everyone can and should dance.

“What we can do can be powerful and make a difference,” Genne said. “And can be beautiful.”

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