Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Inspire, Outspire...

I. Back to Bob's

I used to blog on my laptop every morning here at Bob's Java Hut, the motorcycle coffee shop a few blocks from my apartment. Sometimes I'd stay half the day, working on publishing jobs.

I haven't been here in a year, but now I'm working alone again, it's important I get out among the humans, so I'm back this morning. 

I don't need to converse with the people (though sometimes that happens)--an occasional little chat over the coffee bar is plenty.

II. Capturing Community

Over and over I've pointed to the poor pay and lack of support as the reasons I left Memory Care, and that's true, but, upon reflection, another way to put it was that I was exhausted by constantly pouring forth energy without enough return.

While the people did return friendliness (often, mostly), we couldn't build upon the exchange, since they didn't remember me from one day to the next. And that's where the lack of staff support really mattered---if I'd been part of a team, we could have built upon mutual exchanges, which would have kept me going.

Without the cycle of in-spiration <> ex-halation, I gradually deflated.

I was thinking about this last night, after I went to see the documentary film Capturing Grace at the Twin Cities' annual film festival.  
[7-minute trailer (at an NPR site)] 
It follows a dance class at the Mark Morris Dance Center as they prepare for a performance.
The performers have Parkinson's Disease.

I recognized the teachers' outpouring of energy [via]. 
I was like this.  All the time:
David Leventhal (left) and John Heginbotham (right) with the Dance for PD class
This group really does create community. The movie made me think I want––eventually––to try to find a place I can exude energy and not come away like a limp balloon.

The film will be on PBS television sometime--it's definitely worth watching, though I was a little disappointed with it. It's only an hour, and it focuses on the dancers' stories, which are great, and the dance, which is not. 
I understand director Dave Iverson's decision, given his limited time, but for myself, I wanted to hear more about PD and movement:
I wanted a neurologist, for instance, to discuss why the dancer Cindy can dance but not walk across the room. *

The scene where Cindy demonstrates this is the best in the movie. It reminded me of singing at work---people who couldn't converse could sing songs with complex lyrics such as "The Star Spangled Banner" (try it!).

I wanted to see less of all the dances except the one that's about living with PD.
I mean, what's great and interesting about the dancers is that they're doing it, not that their performance is excellent to watch in itself, especially since they didn't choreograph the work themselves:
they're dancing pieces mostly from the Mark Morris repertory.
Mark Morris (as a baby) in One Charming Night, via MMDG
For that matter, the director could have cut out most of Morris talking--he doesn't add much, except when he's actually guest-teaching a class.

But here's the thing:
I expect I'll find more of what I want to know about PD in Ivorson's other doc, My Father, My Brother, and Me--I'm going to watch it online at PBS. The title refers to PD's toll on his own family.

UPDATE: I just watched this ^ Frontline doc, and it does indeed address a lot of my questions, including the possible benefits of exercise on PD. Maybe Ivorson didn't want to repeat himself in Capturing Grace? The two docs form a kind of pair--I wasn't satisfied with Grace until I'd watched the earlier report.

* P.S. Googling around, this is the sort of thing I wanted to hear more about:

Research is showing that exercises that are more creative and engaging [than just, say, walking on a treadmill] may help the brain enhance its nerve connections and improve how the brain works . . .  Dr. Monique Giroux, medical director of the Booth Gardner Parkinson’s Care Center at Evergreen Hospital Medical Center in Kirkland, [also] says that, in many ways, dance is ideal for those with Parkinson’s.
--from "Dance Class Helps Parkinson's Patients Use Movement As a Strategy"; bold face mine

This is me: "Brain and brain! WHAT IS BRAIN!?!" (9 seconds)

More info on PD dance classes (around the world) at Dance for Parkinson's site. 
I was impressed that the Morris Group classes in NY are free.
And the Jewish Community Center here offers dance classes for people with PD or other movement disorders are only $5/class--scholarships available.

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