Dancer and dance therapist Morgan Rakay defines dance movement therapy as the psychotherapeutic use of movement or integration of the mind, body and perhaps, spirit. In different contexts, it looks so different she says. When she works with children, her approach is very improvisational and she gets down on their level and responds to what's going on. She engages them in play and makes use of props, colors and music. She indulged your correspondent, a student in one of her adult dance classes through the Mount Airy Learning Tree in making a video. When I prompted her to show some movement, her inner therapist noticed that being put on the spot recalled her discomfort as a child when someone,knowing she took dance lessons, would say "Dance for us!" Watch dance teacher describer dance movement therapy and how she uses it with children.
At the Philadelphia Folk Song Society's Fall Fling at the Green Lane Camp, Linda Catinella worked a shift operating the "taxi" (golf cart) shuttling participants to and from different workshops and events, and cheerily engaged fellow camper on her loops around the camp. Your correspondent attended the camp and in lieu of a direct interview with Catinella, captured her in action.
At the Chestnut Hill Fall Arts Festival, people took up pieces of colored chalk and wrote anonymously on a large community chalk board, revealing their personal hopes and plans and dreams for the future, completing the sentence, “Before I die, I want to…” The Philomusica Chorale mounted this community “bucket list” and director Gayle Wieand will weave them into an original, classic-style choral composition to be premiered May 18 and May 19 at Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church. Wieand was moved by some of the posts such as someone who wanted to provide energy to the world and serious about it enough to enter a NASA competition. Others held personal appeal for Wieand such as “…have a cottage on the water.” “And I have a desire to get all the people who put skydiving on the list together to skydive!” Watch video of people writing on chalk board what's on their bucket list for new choral piece
Dying and such with a musical focus was also the subject of another group presenting at the festival.
The Threshold Choir sings soothing acapela non-religious songs for the dying at several hospices in the Philadelphia area. And it performs for people dealing with other situations such as addiction or the premature birth of a child. The songs emphasize loving-kindness, peace and freedom from suffering. The Choir began in San Francisco and now has chapters around the world. “It’s people who want to sing and give their voice at times of change” Member Patty Rogers. The choir will not sing to people who do not want to be sung to. In order of appearance speaking in the accompanying video, were Jim Knight, Kris Olson, and Rogers .
Ricardo Jimenez always liked to sing along to the radio when he was young. one time in Italy, his grandfather called him over to the television to watch the three tenors sing and he became transfixed. The next day he joined the school choir. At 14 he entered conservatory full time. He has performed in his home state of Florida and in Nicaragua. He also pursued a degree in accounting for economic security. Six months ago he moved to Columbus, Ohio to be with his girlfriend. While he chauffeurs people around as a Lyft driver he has a keyboard in the front passenger seat. When he can, he practices warm-up scales and sings. He aspires to the greatness of Pavarotti and Caruso and other opera stars whose biographies he has read. He has just successfully auditioned for the local production of Madama Butterfly and heard the kind of words from a conductor he has been longing to hear, " You have an incredible instrument." After delivering your correspondent to the Blackwell Inn he was bravo-ed by passersby when he sang “Santa Lucia” outside. Watch Lyft driver sing scales in car in hope of becoming opera star.
Robert Vince used to play the tuba but once he had kids it wasn’t practical to practice such a loud instrument after bedtime. Listening to the late Canadian musician and songwriter Stan Rogers sparked his interest in acoustic, folk style music. He took up the ukulele to make music he could share with his kids. Now he sometimes leads the Maine Line Ukulele group and his five year old has begun strumming on the ukulele. Suzanne Kane, a music therapist by trade, picked up the ukulele a couple years ago and began attending sessions to learn the instrument. Now she, too, leads the monthly sessions. She gravitates toward upbeat "high vibe, positive, good message" songs like Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" and "I melt with you" by the Modern English. Both ukulele-ists each led a hand-picked set at the group's premier spring event at the Steel City Coffee House in Phoenixville Pa on Sunday March 11th. Watch ukulele playing and the stories of two who became group leaders here.
Helping people through the difficult times when a family member or even a beloved pet dies gives funeral director satisfaction. So he explained to students at the J.S Jenks Academy of Math and Sciences on career day.
Street musicians Tahir Jamal and Carty Brown (above) both grew up in Northwest Philadelphia. On a temperate fall day Jamal was outside Kilian Hardware improvising on his keyboard while Carty Brown, on the guitar, tried out instrumentals he just recently composed outside the Chestnut Hill Coffee shop. Watch music video and interview of Chestnut Hill street performers.
Tahir Jamal (drums) and Eddie Flotte (guitar) entertain passersby on Germantown Avenue. Watch video of street musicians playing What a Wonderful World.
Your correspondent's classmate got interested in Indian dancing after she Bhangra danced all week at her stepsister's wedding in the Punjab region of India. At the last class of the session the classmate brought along her young daughters who closely followed the moves of the teacher.