Dance Workship on Freedom of the Seas
By Kate O’Neill
Allow the ribs to kiss, Leymis instructs. Elbow, wrist, hand; we’re embracing the waves today. Dance begins, everyone’s in a circle, in several aisles. Most people sit. Some caregivers stand. Eleven in the morning after Dr. Sanchez- Ramos’ hour, people are ready to move, not think. Arms cross in front of the body, sitting tall, arms spiral all the way backwards.
This crowd is mostly white-haired, pale-skinned. Leymis’ shiny black hair, her traffic-cone colored t-shirt contrasts. The program she performs is especially for patients with neurological illness- if not specifically for people with PD.
Inhale, exhale; people crane their necks forward and back. They go to Egypt- hands in prayer above the head, circling heads below
Rock paper scissors, shake it out. Now slicing with hands and arms then circling and reaching high and then slicing down. Everyone moves as one, patting, clapping, right. Synchronized movements at her command- her voice audible without the microphone that is to her side.
The music is jazzy, background with a distinctive beat- She calls the right or left- hand or foot. “Strangers in the Night, we’d be sharing love before the night is through…. Something in your eyes was so inviting…” the words risqué – a tune probably familiar to this generation. The ship moves beneath the seats, gently. Filtered lighting, small canister fixtures impale the ceiling- Leymis allows everyone to have a moment of slow interpretive dance, find an ending pose. Closing the eyes, singer exhales da, de da, de da and the sound fades.
The interactive piece of the class, Leymis asks all to state how they feel and, combine the sentiment with a movement depicting the emotion. Everyone greets the person, copying the motion. Think of the three words and the three motions. Leymis asks all to perform the movements and shout out the words. “Shake it out”. Those wishing to stand may- and the music continues as she perform a plie- these ballet moves are done holding onto the chair back, or not. Big band music- For Once in My Life- swings out, they are drumming, making jazz hands. New Orleans music, the singer gravelly-voiced, All On a Mardi- Gras day… now twist twist twist…. Shake it out.
Most people perform the motions easily. Only a few sit and watch. One man wearing a short-sleeved, orange button down shirt stands, arms at sides. Attentive but seemingly off- his wife bends without hindrance. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Judy Garland sings. Some voices follow her’s. Motions are delicate, gentle as the song ends. All clap.
Christina reminds all to be back by 1:30 after lunch.