Real world applications of the Octaband® ~ meeting people where they are and drawing them out.
The Octaband® is being used by creative and caring individuals around the world to help people feel a sense of belonging, lessening feelings of loneliness and isolation. Read about a group in Australia with people with disabilities, in Milano in a workshop called “Io Incontro Te – I Meet You”, in Ontario in a group of elders that includes one younger man with a brain injury, and at the Charles River Arts Festival in Cambridge, MA with an intergenerational group.
Thanks to all who have posted pictures on Twitter, Pinterest and FB, I am able to share images.
Who’s Using the Octaband®, Where, and How
The Octaband® with People with Disabilities in Australia
Lauren Schutte is a dance teacher who specialises in working with people with disabilities on the NSW Central Coast of Australia. Her business is Social Shindig Services and she also works for Perform-Ability.
The pictures here are from my Fun, Fit, Dance! program on a Saturday. It’s a 3 hour class which incorporates dance and fitness. My clients predominantly have intellectual disabilities but there are a few with physical disabilities too. Everyone LOVES the Octaband! We do a warm-up to Octopus’ Garden and then play team bonding games with bean bags & beach balls. A few clients with Asperger’s love to lie under the band & have it bounce above them. I have also started choreographing a routine to Sia’s “Elastic Heart” with a group and it’s looking like it might be a performance piece at the end of the year. I have also brought it out at my classes for kids with disabilities, as well as for my own kids & their friends, and EVERYONE loves it!! It’s especially popular for people who think they can’t dance. It’s a wonderful piece of inclusive equipment.
I thought you would also love to know that at the end of each term, my Fun, Fit, Dance group walks around to our local nursing home, Bluewave Living and we perform for their beautiful residents with dementia. It is an amazing experience for us as performers and the audience. Many of the residents come alive when they see the passion and enthusiasm from our group, and it gives everyone a wonderful sense of community and belonging.
Anyway, thank you for creating the amazing Octaband®, I love your newsletters, I love learning how other people use the Octaband®, and I love being inspired and continually improving how we as dance teachers can positively impact people’s lives through dance and movement.
Back Pocket Dancers Uses the Octaband® to Engage Children at the Charles River Arts Festival
These images are from another festival at the Charles River several years ago, the Global Water Dances.
Eleanor Duckworth graciously shared how Andy Taylor Blenis and Molly Hess used Octaband®s at the Charles River Festival a couple of weeks ago:
After our performance at the River Festival, we did some audience participation with the Octaband®. It was hugely successful. There were lots of kids. They all were keen to get up and dance with the Octaband® and a lot of their parents got up, too. We had 2 Octaband®s going at once, one being led by Andy, and one being led by Molly. They were all hugely successful. Enthusiasm on all sides. Wanted to do more and more. They sat down in the shell (the center) and got turned around and they pulled and they leaped and they went under and they went over and it was a great success. Everyone was very enthusiastic. It was fun to do, too.
The Octaband® in a Dance/Movement Therapy Workshop in Milan
Dance/movement therapist Maria Sangiorgi of Italy and Australia described how she used the Octaband® in her workshop in Milano: Essentially it really became a free for all dance. All the participants had already been together for one day working on creating relationships. Before the Octaband® we had done another dance using cords, where each person holds a cord and then they work in pairs, etc. till the whole group is connected in a circle, then the circle becomes tangled, all to music. The Octaband® carried the energy of that dance in a way.
People were very expressive and some quite over the top, lots of laughter. The music told a story and they kind of followed that from R & B to light African, Algeria from Circe di Sole ending with some sensual Jazz. The last dance was a dance of un-tanglement where we are returned to the circle and standing.
In a Dance/Movement Therapy Group in a Nursing Home in Ontario
Mary Moncrieff shared the following story about using the Octaband with a group of elderly and one younger man with a brain injury, who was also blind.
“There was a younger man in the group who had brain damage from a bullet shot. He did’t know it; he didn’t really know a lot about his life because it had been removed from his memory. So whenever he would come into a group of elderly, because he was living in a nursing home, we would have to remember that he wouldn’t know where he was. I would say things like, “We’re going into this room right because there’s going to be an activity” to orient him. And in general, the group of elderly were undermotivated to do anything. We were always trying to draw them out and they were also somewhat intolerant. So what happened was people would release their wheels sometimes and then pull on the Octaband® and pull themselves in and then pull themselves back out again and different things were happening. And then at one point, this man was probably just calling out and probably didn’t remember what he was doing and said something like, ‘What is this. What’s going on?’ Because he didn’t have any visual feedback. So, I just went into his space. I stayed with him as he pulled himself in to reach out and touch. “There’s a big round center in here. It’s really spongy.” I told him.
In addition to being blind, he was chronically forgetting. So he didn’t have much to base his environment information on. So he touches this thing and then he pulled back out and then he came back in again and then I asked him to reach to one side and touch the rope of another one. I called it the rope or whatever and I’d say, “tugging on that, on the other end of that is so-and-so. And you know there are 16 bands. I went around one by one to each one very calmly, Can you feel that one? Yeah. On the other end of that is this person. And he would say, maybe not every time, but he would say, “Oh, hello so-and-so.” And the group sat there and waited for us to go through the entire process til he had a physical representation of this group of people that was around him. You know, you don’t plan these things. They just happen. It was his case, his history, and his experience that he needed that, you know.
Mary’s story demonstrates that it is the specific need that calls for varied, creative ways of using the Octaband®. For more stories about who is using the Octaband®, where, and how, check out danceforconnection.com . I expect to have a blog article up shortly.
Expressive therapist Adam Riccio shares in the video below how he uses the Octaband® with children and I talk about using it with older adults.