2016 Tour

We have began our tour and are currently booking for the entire summer, fall and into next year, 2017. Look for your state and if we are in your state please email us if your interested in having us visit your community. We are super excited to bring this amazing program to so many places all over the USA. Book now, get your slot!

May – central PA

June – Western MA, Boston, and NY

July – WesterMA, New Jersey then CO in late July.

August- Colorado, Oregon, WA

September – MA & CT & CO

October – CO, NV, & CA

November, December and Jan 2017 – Colorado

We follow a similar tour in 2017 and can book that far ahead. Please contact us, no matter where you are! We still continue to grow in bookings and places to visit, even if we don’t list your area. We can get there, let’s talk about how to make it happen!

 

Let’s Dance Needs your support!

 

An Inspirational Story about Let’s Dance History

In the first trial run for Let’s Dance we visited approximately 10 communities in the State of Pennsylvania. In our second year we visited 65 different communities, returning to the ones in Pennsylvania but also adding Massachusettes, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Oregon, and Nevada. Now in our 3rd year we have already exceded where we were last year with a full schedule in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and accepting bookings for Connecticut, Oregon, Nevada and Colorado this fall. We are growing fast  and both of us are working very hard at building Let’s Dance. We both personally feel that it is a dream come true, traveling and sharing our brightest of lights. We are just on the edge of our growth and realize that as we grow we need some outside funding to help us build Let’s Dance in a way that will be sustainable for our future as well as the future of our growing elder community and challenged communities.

Our growth has been impressive and with each visit to a new facility we are hearing similar quotes. “Wow! When are you coming back? I have never seen anything like this!” – “This is truly a special program!” – “Let us dig a little deeper in our budget, so you can be sure to say Yes to those lower income communities! Everyone should have access to this magic!” We are humbled at the outpouring of love and support that we witness among these communities. Communities are coming together so that we can visit several different communities in a similar area. We have expanded to include Adult Day Cares, Intellectually Challenged, Traumatic Brain Injury, and other challenged communities with the program being developed further to be completely inclusive. Let’s Dance has also added other programs including a Storytelling program with stories by Bright Hawk, a professional storyteller for 20 years, to include world travel and old folk tales. We have also began to offer the concert for communities that have a general interest in music. The concert typically includes discussions about the instrument and Bright Hawk’s original compositions.

 

Let’s Dance in Action

As we grow we are in need of a little “startup capital” like in most businesses. One way for us to significantly save money while on the road would be to have a Vanigon. Plus, to be honest, its part of a mutual dream we have. We love our National Parks and Nature, both of us are lifetime campers and outdoors people. So what a better way for us to travel than on the road with a reliable camper van or something else simple and small. Currently we usually Rent A Car and we have a very generous friend – a fellow Nurse Janette Ladores, who sees the potential for the program and has generously let us borrow her vehicle. Our gratitude for her generosity is profound and we owe some of our expansion last year directly to her and communities in New Jersey! So the majority of the money would pay for a Vanigon or something else small that is as environmentally responsible as possible! We also would accept donations of a Van that is repairable or even already restored. Currently we also rely on the generosity of our friends to put us up in their living rooms, spare rooms, and even using couchsurfing.com – Simplifying our travel with a mobile camper of some sort would add a sense of home on the road, something we both have explored together in the Summer of 2015. This is not only a dream come true for us but all the communities we visit and could potentially visit on the road. Communities around the nation could enjoy our program at least once a year, providing more smiles, hugs and tears of joy to people that could use a lift in their spirits. Providing a program that benefits the community as it is today, in the coming years, and help to evolve entertainment in the comunities we visit.

LetsDanceActivites.com

Hollis engages every person in the community for fun dance moves regardless of cognitive, physical or intellectual challenges. Making this very special dance & movement program available for all people.

Let’s Dance 2016 Tour Begins!!

An inspirational story:

In the first trial run for Let’s Dance we visited approximately 10 communities in the State of Pennsylvania. In our second year we visited 65 different communities, returning to the ones in Pennsylvania but also adding Massachusettes, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Oregon, and Nevada. Now in our 3rd year we have already exceded where we were last year with a full schedule in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and accepting bookings for Connecticut, Oregon, Nevada and Colorado this fall. We are growing fast  and both of us are working very hard at building Let’s Dance. We both personally feel that it is a dream come true, traveling and sharing our brightest of lights. We are just on the edge of our growth and realize that as we grow we need some outside funding to help us build Let’s Dance in a way that will be sustainable for our future as well as the future of our growing elder community and challenged communities.

Our growth has been impressive and with each visit to a new facility we are hearing similar quotes. “Wow! When are you coming back? I have never seen anything like this!” – “This is truly a special program!” – “Let us dig a little deeper in our budget, so you can be sure to say Yes to those lower income communities! Everyone should have access to this magic!” We are humbled at the outpouring of love and support that we witness among these communities. Communities are coming together so that we can visit several different communities in a similar area. We have expanded to include Adult Day Cares, Intellectually Challenged, Traumatic Brain Injury, and other challenged communities with the program being developed further to be completely inclusive. Let’s Dance has also added other programs including a Storytelling program with stories by Bright Hawk, a professional storyteller for 20 years, to include world travel and old folk tales. We have also began to offer the concert for communities that have a general interest in music. The concert typically includes discussions about the instrument and Bright Hawk’s original compositions.

As we grow we are in need of a little “startup capital” like in most businesses. One way for us to significantly save money while on the road would be to have a Vanigon. Plus, to be honest, its part of a mutual dream we have. We love our National Parks and Nature, both of us are lifetime campers and outdoors people. So what a better way for us to travel than on the road with a reliable camper van or something else simple and small. Currently we usually Rent A Car and we have a very generous friend – a fellow Nurse Janette Ladores, who sees the potential for the program and has generously let us borrow her vehicle. Our gratitude for her generosity is profound and we owe some of our expansion last year directly to her and communities in New Jersey! So the majority of the money would pay for a Vanigon or something else small that is as environmentally responsible as possible! We also would accept donations of a Van that is repairable or even already restored. Currently we also rely on the generosity of our friends to put us up in their living rooms, spare rooms, and even using couchsurfing.com – Simplifying our travel with a mobile camper of some sort would add a sense of home on the road, something we both have explored together in the Summer of 2015. This is not only a dream come true for us but all the communities we visit and could potentially visit on the road. Communities around the nation could enjoy our program at least once a year, providing more smiles, hugs and tears of joy to people that could use a lift in their spirits. Providing a program that benefits the community as it is today, in the coming years, and help to evolve entertainment in the comunities we visit.

Once we are able to be on the road to bring this all over the nation and even the world, we have plans to expand into education. Increasing the awareness of the language of dementia, developing activities that excite communities, increasing teamwork among caregivers including activities personell. We also plan to develop a workout DVD for the elderly population that encourages participation of the activities person. We even have ideas about offering Bright Hawk’s music to other projects related to alzheimer’s and dementia. Our growth could even reach a point in which we are able to have various teams to visit communities all over the world! We are willing to go as far as Let’s Dance and our community carries us.

We have started a GoFundMe and are now reaching out to the press and other public broadcasting to get the word out about Let’s Dance. We truly believe in the magic it holds and potential that shines bright every time we visit a community. We hope that you could join us and give what you can to the cause. Even just a simple share on Facebook or Twitter. Maybe you will share a video or email your community about it. There are so many ways to help including a prayer for our success and safe passage. Our candles are lit and we are ready to share our flame anywhere we go! Thank you for your support!

By Hollis Taylor

Let’s Dance – Sliding Scale? Grant writers?

Everyone can afford Let’s Dance! We make that possible through the sliding scale model. Recently, Let’s Dance has settled on the sliding scale model for pricing for a variety of reasons.  For many people this is an entirely new way to approach paying for services and some people like to hear further information of how it works.

Among the elderly population and their caregivers there is a general understanding that some people have more money then others, but that shouldn’t put a limit on some basic things. Basic care, medication, and general overall happiness. Once Let’s Dance visits a community the staff is normally inspired by the program, because of the happiness that it spreads. The happiness is brings to the community is worth more than any dollar bill and most of us would agree. There is an understanding among activities and recreation directors that we want Let’s Dance to be available for ALL communities. So in our commitment to the elderly population as a whole we agree to pay at the top of our budget.

Most people in the position to hire entertainers for their communities want to pay their entertainers more, especially the ones the residents love. Many communities tell me they wish they could pay more and I am humbled by the ones that do! When a community says we are going to pay you twice as much this month because we want you to take Let’s Dance to lower income communities, too! The other thing directors say when they pay more is “I can’t do it every month, but this month I can and I might as well because I know it will go further with Let’s Dance”

Let’s Dance has a general understanding that the program is priceless and necessary for communities. So with a sliding scale essentially we ask you “What can you afford?” Many healers including acupuncture, natural healers, yoga instructors and so forth offer this sliding scale model because it makes good health available to all people. So in the same attitude we can offer Let’s Dance to the elderly community.

We are also currently looking for Grant Writers that might be interested in helping Let’s Dance get special funding. We are open to many options and willing to be flexible with you, let’s talk! Email LetsDanceActivities@gmail.com

Let’s Dance hopes to raise the vibration with your community today! We are booking for CO, Central PA, Western MA, Boston, NY and CT for this summer. As well as later in the summer we will be in OR.

scales

 

Storytelling for Assisted & Independent Living Facilities

By Hollis Taylor

Stories? Stories! Do they really mean anything? One of my favorite past times is to listen to people’s stories. My father was blind and we often listened to recorded stories. Stories bring more than simply entertainment, they also bring understanding. Stories help us understand ourselves, our friends, and even our so called enemies. We can better understand other perspectives by listening to a story and becoming emotionally involved. I noticed when people understand your story they more easily find compassion and understanding for your perspective or position in life. I have also found that listening to other people’s stories helps me understand them. Stories also help us better understand ourselves as humans and what it means to be human beings. Often the characters will make a mistake and have to apologize or will suffer in some other way that many of us can relate to. In respect for stories I have always listened to the stories of my elders and found great wisdom in most of it. I love live storytellers, I find them mesmerizing and way more entertaining than whats on TV. Many of the elderly and other people in long term care facilities would agree. After you watch enough TV it becomes redundant and live performances of any kind are more fulfilling than an entire day of television shows or movies.

As Bright Hawk and I began to collaborate I noticed her talent in telling live stories. She creates an adventure that feels like you have experienced it with her! Some of them are more fiction with the main characters as animals, fairies, and other fictional characters. Some of her stories are from her travels or lifetime experiences. I love stories so to me they are all wonderful. I think this diversity in storytelling makes her a favorite for all types of people from children to elderly folks. She even has a story about a young person in a wheelchair, giving that young person a special role in the community that is unique to that situation. Celebrating diversity is always the foundation and in most cases the wisdom is about love, compassion, kindness, community, or helping each other out. The way she delivers the story is full of enthusiasm and animation. Her delight in storytelling as an art shows through in her excitement and passion about characters. I have heard many of her stories over and over again, each time delighting in how she might tell it this time. The magic that happens each time a story is told is something truly spectacular and I would love to see others enjoy!

I was excited to get her storytelling to children, yes, but also to my elders. I know they loved my stories about my adventures and I loved sharing it with them. When I worked as a nurse I often would bring pictures and stories back about my vacations, often I visited various types of festivals. They loved to hear about community and the creative ways people entertained each other. Often they even had stories to share and I was always eager to hear them. I was honored to offer an option of Storytelling for the elders in Assisted and Independent Living Facilities.

The Hippo Story

A post shared by Bright Hawk (@brighthawk) on

This past winter has been our first trials with Bright Hawk’s stories in these type settings. We have had great results! She recently visited a very respected community in our hometown, Boulder, CO. This place holds safe space for our elders in a progressive home for retired scientists, doctors, and other very educated elders. This community has no Alzheimers unit and mostly consists of independent individuals that are responsible for their own daily activities. They can choose between many types of entertainment and many things to do throughout their day. The fact their willing to give the storyteller a chance says a lot!

At this point we have had great success and found that the residents also prefer a variety of stories. They enjoy the stories about Bright Hawk’s travels and even her stories about Leprechauns. Bright Hawk and I collaborated to create a more modern take Irish folk tale that has now been well delivered to groups of seniors and school aged children. Both groups getting the same story with adjustments for age appropriateness and approach, all audiences were engaged and wished for her to come back to share more stories. You can tell when people have authentically enjoyed the story by their smile and enthusiasm. The younger groups enjoyed the participation, the music, and Bright Hawk’s animation. The elder’s enjoyed her authenticity, the music with the Hang PANArt, and her enthusiasm. I could tell everyone was captured by the art that Bright Hawk seems to hold naturally and combined with her percussion talents on the Hang PANArt we are delighted with something unique, fun, and entertaining.

Now that Let’s Dance has been offering storytelling as another option for facilities we have expanded our visits. This summer we hope to be able to spend a day in the facility. Spending one part of the day possibly in the more independent areas with storytelling, concerts, or exercise classes with the Hang PANArt. Then others parts of the day bringing Let’s Dance Movement Program to alzheimer’s units, groups of people in wheelchairs, and other people in complete nursing care. We are also reaching out to day programs that provide entertainment for autistic children, handicap communities, and other developmentally or cognitively challenged people. We are so excited for our business to be expanding so quickly and to receive so much love and support from so many communities around the country.

Booking for Summer Tour 2016 Now!

By Hollis Taylor

It’s Spring! It’s finally here! After a long cold winter in Colorado we are ready for our summer tour. We are looking forward to meeting new communities out east this year as well as visiting some of our favorites from the past two years. Our first Let’s Dance programs were provided to several progressive communities in Central PA in Sept 2014. We visited again in July of 2015. We are so grateful to be visiting again this summer but instead in May. Thank you so much Pennsylvania facilities for giving us a starting place to launch a program that brings love, smiles, and healing to people in long term care facilities around the country!

We are already taking bookings for our 3rd summer in Pennsylvania, where it all began. We plan to be in the Central Pennsylvania area May 2016 including the Lancaster area. We already have several supporters in the area and we are excited to revisit those communities. Be sure to get your chosen slot in now!

We also plan to be in MA for most of June and then NY very late June into July.We are booking now for all these areas and look forward to hearing from you. If you feel like we should come to your area I encourage you to email us, now! Our schedule is beginning to fall together!

Oregon, you should also know that we plan to be in your area, again. So far its looking like August – so please keep us in mind when planning that far ahead.

You can simply email letsdanceactivities@gmail.com with a requested date and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you!

 

Dancing Relieves Depression

Recently a friend shared a very interesting scientific journal regarding some research done with people diagnosed with depression. This article was great scientific research that validates that its not just the music, its not just the movement, but in fact its the combination of both. “The joy dance: Specific effects of a single dance intervention on psychiatric patients with depression” Published by The Arts of Psychotherapy Journal by Sabine C. Koch, PhD, MA, Katharina Morlinghaus, Thomas Fuchs, PhD, MD was an interesting read and served as a great validation for Let’s Dance. 

Let’s Dance encourages dance, not just range of motion. Range of motion is what nurses are required to do with residents in long term care facilities and even people living in wheelchairs. Let’s Dance takes it beyond just ‘range of motion’ to instead inspire dance. With Dance we can help participants to experience a relief in their depression and inspire them to move their bodies, even if they are in a wheelchair. A common response when I approach a participant in Let’s Dance is that they “cannot dance anymore” including the reasons why. The main excuse I get is that they are ‘no longer steady on their feet’ or ‘in a wheelchair’.

Regardless of the reason I get, my answer is always the same. Anyone can dance! Anyone, no matter what. I hold their hands and either gently guide their bodies into a movement that emulates dance. I guide and wait for their brains to remember how to move. Often they do begin to guide their own movement, even if they were disconnected before. In that moment they can move with me. Dance brings something special to them that lifts their hearts. Even those that cannot move are encouraged to at least let their face dance…. a smile has a similar effect. When I suggest making their face dance, I almost always get a smile that leads to me encouraging their face dance. Often if I can get a smile I can get at least a little dance with them, that includes other parts of their body other than their face, when I return for a second chance.

I noticed that when I dance with people we slowly connect. At first we make the connection with our eyes and often our hands. Then we connect to the music and begin to move to the amazing rhythms provided by Bright Hawk and the Hang PANArt. The music in itself is soothing and joyful. As we continue to move we experience a burst in our hearts that spreads around us like wildfire. We offer love and appreciation for each other, then continue to move into a very joyful place. Often I hear things like “I haven’t done that in years!” or “I haven’t felt this good in a long while” and I feel the same way! I am joyful to be sharing the moment with them and the feeling is usually mutual. I am grateful I get to experience it with the entire group, I feel blessed!

When I developed Let’s Dance I was struggling with depression myself. I was constantly looking for ways to relieve my depression in order to heal my own personal wounds. I feel that when I reach for them to dance with me, we heal each other. Bright Hawk has managed to figure out how to dance and play the Hang PANArt, so in that she encourages everyone to dance while I work one on one with people. Those that choose to participate with her find it easy to smile by the end of the hour. Dancing relieves depression for sure. Let’s Dance takes long term care facility residents to slouched, sleeping and checked out to awake, happy, and even joyful!

The article ‘The Joy Dance’ validates everything we have experienced in the last year and half with the Let’s Dance program. Here is a great quote from the discussion part of the article

“Participants in the dance group showed a significant decrease of depression, whereas depression scores did not change for participants of the other two groups. Dance acted thus specifically on depression reduction. Further, participants in the dance group showed a significantly higher increase in vitality than participants in the music group. Vitality and affect increased significantly from pre- to post-test across conditions. Between conditions, there were no significant differences of increase in affect. The biggest pre-/post-test changes were found in the dance group: on a single-item basis, motivation, coping, strength, energy and enjoyment increased, while depression, lifelessness, anxiety, tension and tiredness decreased.”

When I read this I understood that not only had I healed others but I had healed myself. I have sometimes been known to suffer with depression, anxiety, tension and narcoleptic tendencies. All of which have been greatly reduced with many approaches in my personal life as well as experiencing Let’s Dance regularly. When we are healed while inspiring healing in others, we are truly bringing a holistic medicine to the community as a whole. Natural and Holistic Healing are beneficial for communities faced with many struggles. Let’s Dance offers a program for all people that can bring even the facilitators great healing.