The Octaband is the link between those who face difficulties joining the dance and those who express themselves easily.
Photo thanks to dance/movement therapist Patty Russell-Curry and
the folks shown here who have orthopedic challenges.
Here’s a story to warm your heart in these (not-so) cold winter days.
Many, if not most, of the people who use the Octaband are wonderful human beings. Whether volunteers or workers, they often work with people who are disenfranchised ~ many times people who have been ostracized and rejected by the culture at large.
This past summer, Patty Rosenblatt, artist and fellow dancer, showed her Octaband to a house guest, a young German man about to do his alternate to military service at a residence for people with disabilities in Syracuse, NY. When he became “excited by the brilliance of it” as a simple yet extremely effective invention for fostering participation in a group, Patty bought an Octaband as a gift for Finn to use.
Recently, Finn von Maltzahn wrote to let me know what he discovered:
“In my L’Arche Syracuse community we use it at gatherings like prayers. Because we have 16 Core Members with developmental disabilities we can use one leg of the octaband each. No matter what level of ability they have each of them can put a hand in the sleeves. Playing some music or singing helps all of us to enjoy this activity of dancing and being in touch with each other enormously.
Music and dancing unites our Core Members and assistants like nothing else. Very often Music and dancing are one of the few things people are less likely to forget so even someone with Alzheimer’s still enjoys it and shows gifts that seemed to be disappeared. We are very glad that we can enjoy such activities better and everybody can participate. It is centering and easy to handle. And there is no barrier for wheelchair users either. So the octaband is the linking part between those who are usually facing difficulties joining dances or such and all or those who can express themselves easily.”
The Octaband makes a wonderful gift for people such as Finn who are sensitive, and want to make a difference in the lives of those who are dismissed as irrelevant.