Learning to dance

Photo by Tracy Walsh Photography
Photo by Tracy Walsh Photography

Look at our fabulous cover star this month — Maria Genné!

I know: Isn’t she amazing? See how she just glows with positive energy?

I first met Genné in 2015 at the Midwest Arts & Aging Conference in St. Paul.

Immediately, I was enchanted by her energy and struck by her passion for bringing the arts — in her case, dance — to older adults.

I wasn’t surprised to see art classes geared toward older adults, including painting, poetry, storytelling and even music.

But dance?

I could scarcely believe — as Genné demonstrated her interactive Kairos Alive! workshop to conference attendees — the power of her grace, her ability to get everyone engaged, the light in her eyes, her dancing heart.

And so with this issue, I’m delighted to have her on our cover (which happens to be our annual Fitness Issue) to showcase her Kairos Alive! teaching philosophy.

Genné is changing the art of aging one dance hall at a time, not just in the Twin Cities, but also around the country, where she speaks on the power of dance — and intergenerational programming — among older adults.

See, it’s not just that Genné has a knack for getting folks dancing, including people using wheelchairs or who have memory problems.

Genné also strives to make her workshops multicultural as well as intergenerational.

Though she could have become a stage dancer, Genné realized early in her career that she wanted to dance among others — with others. So she soon found herself working with young children, seniors and people with developmental disabilities, too. And she loved it.

She wondered: “How do I keep that creative connection going across generations? If I want people of all different ages to really come together, I have to show what that looks like. So that’s the reason for starting Kairos,” she said.

Genné, it seems to me, is living out the sentiment: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

“We are empowering each other to create a better world, a place we all want to grow old in, be in, and have our grandchildren in,” she said.

Check out the entire profile on Genné in this issue, and just see if you aren’t impressed.