Dance Therapy with Leymis Wilmot on Freedom of the Seas
By Kate O’Neill
The attendees gather into a circle- she encourages them to respond in a call and respond session-
BEST: Body, Energy, Space and Time
We begin with a breathing exercise, placing the hands on the belly as we inhale then exhale. Placing hands on rib cage, it expands, next we place hands on the sternum as we inhale and exhale. “Don’t Worry about a thing, every little thing gonna be all right…. ” The words flow as people extend their arms as birds, swinging to the beat. Even higher, reach, opening wide, give yourself a hug- she urges
Spinal arches and then rounding.
I think some may benefit from an assistant that travels between those that don’t seem to get the movements.
No caregivers feel the need to reiterate her commands. The arms fly through the air, clasped arms wiggle the torsos to the beat of the music- changing to a Latin song that’s faster, the Spanish words probably lost on all. They gather, then melt from side to side as that music fades.
Are you sitting up nice and tall? Breathing? Rock, paper, scissors, shake it out- both hands. Deck of cards- she imitates passing out cards, rotating her torso forward.
Percussive piece of the class: heels drop to floor, hands pat thighs, hands clap….
In front the woman cues her spouse, “Move your shoulders!”- her voice a sharp whisper.
The tempo increases then falls as the heads of the foundation watch with bemused faces.
All movements are seated- as a voice like Tony Bennet begins to sing, “Thinking of you and the way you look to night. You’re lovely…. ”
Lateral stretch, add an elbow, pull the arm over-
In front a man wears a blue t-shirt with orange letters spelling FROG: fat, retired, old guy.
They give themselves a hand with Leymis’ urging. Breaking for water, Christina makes several announcements. The second half will be done standing, for those able. This is to begin with the ballet moves done behind their seats, one hand securing the top for balance. People swirl about, moving behind chairs.
“I had the time of my life… “ the music is loud over her voice. Tapping feet, to the back, then raising up on the balls of the feet and down. I hear a guy behind me moaning , as he smiles. His wife is in front of him, performing the actions as well. In front, the woman helps her spouse raise his right hand over his head. His limbs are deeply tanned, perhaps by the Florida sun.
Leymis describes the next section- as preparation for the Mardi Gras event that will happen tomorrow- She used to conduct a jazz dance class at Tulane, and these musicians are the real thing- true New Orleans artists. Most people are up now. Caregivers have given up their hesitation. They clap as their right shoulder make circles. A wave of arms flies about and they clap, ready for the parade tomorrow. The cool down begins, sitting. “Somewhere over the rainbow” Judy Garland- they create a wave oscillating among the circle. “Birds fly over the rainbow, why oh why can’t I?” Inhale and exhale and give yourself a hug.