A few days ago at our small but really terrific dance class, the students and teacher asked me what Arts for Life offers that is different from classes offered at senior centers. It’s a reasonable question and I want to address it.
First, not to denigrate senior centers, the key to Arts for Life programs is the best artistic quality. In dance class, our students learn appropriate and classic warm-ups, work at the barre, learn specific steps and then find themselves having a ball doing a well–choreographed dance routine with a professional choreographer; if we write poetry, it is with a published poet and outstanding teacher; if we have art or crafts classes, they are with established artists; recorder students learn about phrasing and musicianship from the moment they pick up their instruments; if we have a chorus, it will sing in 4 parts with a lovely blend. Every teacher is a paid professional.
In addition, the great majority of our teachers are in the same age cohort as our students; peer to peer teaching and learning is one of the basic tenets of our philosophy. Arts for Life sets out to prove, as our tagline says, that we can blossom at any age. I want to provide the tools to make that happen. I also want to provide an atmosphere in which no one need be shy or tentative due to a lack of experience or physical limitations.
I have found that senior centers and faith-based organizations are obstacles for some people; I myself am not ready to take classes at my local senior center though I know many people who do. Arts for Life exists to provide exciting alternatives for people who are renewing or re-creating themselves in a new stage of life. The classes are great, the teachers are fabulous, the students are delightful and talented – and they are having a ball. All we need is greater numbers.
With your help, that will happen soon as well.