New Mexico History Museum

Dancing to remember

March 10, 2016


From offering caregivers an hour of respite to discovering new wells of creativity, the acclaimed Alzheimer’s Poetry Project has spent the last decade developing techniques to reach people with memory illnesses through literature, performance, art and museum exhibits. Now you can learn techniques focused on movement and dance to reach learners of all abilities. Join us on Saturday, April 9, from 10 am to 1:30 pm, when the New Mexico History Museum and the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project present “Celebrating Creativity in Elder Care: A Day of Learning.”

The workshop will be held at the History Museum, 113 Lincoln Avenue, on the Santa Fe Plaza. A registration fee of $25 includes a light breakfast. Continuing Education Units are available. To register, go to, or call (505) 577-2250. Seating is limited, so reserve a spot today.

Who should come? Anyone involved with improving the quality of life for older people—caregivers, health care workers, librarians, museum staff, teaching artists, and the general public.

The day opens with a keynote talk on the benefits of dance and movement by special guest artist Maria Genné of the Minnesota-based dance troop Kairos Alive! Participants will join in a performance of poetry, music and song on the theme of dance. In the afternoon, Genné will lead an Intergenerational Dance Hall with musicians from Santa Fe’s Lifesongs program. Ruth Dennis and Jytte Lokvig will help participants create a mural responding to the dance.

Special guest artist:

Maria Genné, founder of Kairos Alive!

Genné is a dancer, choreographer, educator and pioneering leader in the intergenerational participatory performing arts. Her national award-winning work to create interactive dance, music and story programs taps into the artistry and creativity of older adults and invites them to be central collaborators in the artistic process of dance, music and storytelling.

In 1999, she founded Kairos Dance Theatre, now Kairos Alive, the first intergenerational modern dance company in the Twin Cities and one of a handful in the country. Since then the vision and scope of Kairos has grown exponentially.

“As pioneers in participatory art and the creative arts and aging movement, we challenge the status quo and seek innovative ways to enrich the lives of participants and create vibrant communities,” she said. “Our research-based, award-winning arts programs actively engage older adults through the artistic expression of dance, music, and story participation led by professional artists.”

Genné’s Intergenerational Dance Hall revives the notion of dance halls as community gatherings for artistic, physical and social involvement of all ages and abilities—with elders at its heart. The events feature live music performed by professional musicians and participatory dance, story and theatre to promote arts engagement, health education and personal and community well-being.

Other participant/leaders at the workshop include:

  • Gary Glazner, founder of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, uses inspired—and inspiring—poetry to reach people with memory illnesses. Glazner produced the first National Poetry Slam in San Francisco in 1990. Honored with the 2013 Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer ’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Award, the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project forms the backbone of Glazner’s new book, Dementia Arts: Celebrating Creativity in Elder Care (Health Professional Press).

  • Alysha Shaw, program coordinator of the Santa Fe-based Lifesongs, shows how the project helps people in nursing homes and hospice create original and enlightening music. Shaw is an interdisciplinary artist, musician and community organizer who has studied and worked with performance, music, video, interactive arts, sculpture and writing. Lifesongs is a program of the Academy for the Love of Learning and Littleglobe.

  • Ruth Dennis, recreational director of Vista Living, and Jytte Lokvig of the Alzheimer’s Creativity Project lead a hands-on art-making workshop. Dennis is a professional sculptor and painter whose programs helped Sierra Vista become one of the most respected assisted living facilities in New Mexico. Lokvig founded the nation’s first Alzheimer’s Café in Santa Fe to offer creativity and socialization for people with dementia, caregivers, family and friends.

Helping to offer this conference are these partnering organizations: the Alzheimer’s Association, New Mexico Chapter; Alzheimer’s Café; Alzheimer’s Poetry Project; Kairos Alive!; Institute of Dementia Education & Art; Lifesongs; Santa Fe Opera; New Mexico History Museum; and New Mexico Literary Arts.

The conference is in support the New Mexico Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia State Plan, with the endorsement the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department, and the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.

Media contact:

Gary Glazner, executive director, Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, (505) 577-2250,

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