MULTIMEDIA UPDATE: REAson d’etre dance productions presents the PROPinquity Dance Jam
TORONTO, Oct. 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Kathleen Rea overcomes pandemic related isolation through a playful new dance form called the PROPinquity Dance Jam.
Kathleen Rea ran a Dance Jam for twenty-one years every Wednesday through her company REAson d’etre dance productions. Every week, people gathered to dance to live music. They practiced Contact Dance, a social dance form focused on momentum. Imagine a mix of tango and wrestling where the leader and follower change continually. In March 2020, the COVID pandemic arrived in Canada and the whole country shut down. For the first time in over twenty years there was no Wednesday Dance Jam. Rea tried an online version, but her community didn’t take to it. She states, “Seeing each other over Zoom just exacerbated the grief of not being able to dance together.”Rea bought gymnastic air barrels, tether balls, eight-foot wooden dowels, large exercise balls, rollers, balance-rockers, and 12-foot elastic loops. She searched for items that dancers could use to practice lead and follow by touching through a prop while maintaining a physical distance, and props that mimicked the movement of a partner. Because the Dance Jam would be outdoors, Rea purchased battery-operated amplifiers for her musicians. She designed a protocol of screening questions, prop disinfection, mask wearing and physical distancing, making sure to stay within provincial government guidelines.The idea of dancing with props is not new. During the pandemic social dancers across different genres have faced a loss of touch by dancing with armchairs, exercise balls, and other props. Moving dance classes outdoors is also not new during this time. Rea’s innovation was to provide a variety of props, a unique system to invite artistic expression and connection, and the shared experience of live music. It has become something more than just a replacement for what was lost. It is its own thing.Three months later, the Jam is going strong, with great turnout every week. Each week, Rea loads up her car with props and with a light heart heads to the park. Rea no longer goes to therapy, because the “dance prescription” worked. And this prescription has carried over to her community who have come out of isolation and benefit from the connecting properties of dance once again.A video accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/afc43d94-fe3b-449a-82dc-e9dc60343743A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/ff698d96-e46e-4d58-906f-d0d5b023b002