Experiment: Anna Marie Shogren
3 people crouched on the floor

So, here is a very low-pressure experiment. An exploration in the use of dance as a means of enhancing the culture of empathy and sustainability in senior assisted living communities.

Close your eyes.

Imagine you are reaching both arms out in front of your body, bent at the elbows, aligned with the horizon. Loose fists point back towards the opposite arm. Now, begin circling or churning your forearms around one another, like a waterwheel.  

Continue this movement in your mind’s eye. It looks great.

Now think “Proud Mary.” Imagine Tina Turner and her glamorously sequined backup vocalists and dancers clustered in that tight trio. Big wheels keep on turning, nice and easy, and then picking up, hair flying, arms rolling.

Or, think John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, strutting onto that colorfully lit dance floor. He’s joined immediately by two women in a line dance choreography to the Bee Gees’ “Night Fever.”  One of the two, a young Fran Drescher, demands “Kiss me. Kiss me! I just kissed Al Pacino!”

Now, that same arm rolling choreography: two cool arm rolls, hands reach to underarms, two flaps of the elbows, an iconic point to the upper righthand corner and down across the body.

Does that shift anything for you?


What if we used dance as small talk? As a ritual? As a practice?

What if we just met, and I told you I was making a dance? What if I told you I was writing a book?

What would you be willing to insert into your workday, and what would seem nonessential? What do you already do that is nonessential?

How quickly can we build trust? Does trust require language? Can trust be done nonverbally?

-Anna Marie Shogren

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