still moving and still connecting
Moving Connections Fall Outdoor Practice 2020 - Photo by Drew Berry
JOIN OUR FREE ONLINE COMMUNITY MOVEMENT PRACTICE
open to people of all ages, bodies, and abilities - no dance experience required
"[These workshops] give me something to look forward to; they connect me to my
expressive self and moving body; I feel whole and more creative."
- Lisa, Winter 2021 Online Participant
Moving Connections is a community movement practice founded and directed by Karen Kaeja. It took shape just before the pandemic hit in its first workshop in December 2019. This project and the choreographed sequence, 'The Heart Phrase', was guided and developed by Karen in collaboration with a group of 30 older adults.
In Fall of 2020, this project pivoted with the rest of the world and shifted to an online platform, bringing people together from their own spaces to engage in a live movement practice. These workshops provide a place for friends, families and communities to come together to move and connect.
Workshop facilitators lead participants through a warm-up, the sequence of choreography, plus guided movement explorations. This is a non-strenuous movement practice that will warm the body and activate the mind, connecting us to ourselves and one another. The sequence can be done standing, sitting, or with any modifications. As you become more and more comfortable with the choreography we invite you to find joy in the movement pathways and imagery.
Read about the positive effects of Moving Connections on body appreciation
and social connection in this new study.
“I feel that they have tapped into an inner creative centre that has been dormant.”
- David, Winter 2021 Online Participant
"I love the power of gesture — how simple, gentle everyday movement can be a powerful expressive vehicle — how gesture is dance. The workshops expand the idea of what it means to dance."
- Nils, Winter 2021 Online Participant
ABOUT THE WORKSHOPS:
Moving Connections sessions may include:
1) Learning Labs
2) Practice Labs
**We welcome participants to join these workshops at any time — Drop-in to one workshop or register for the whole series!
Photo of Moving connections Online Spring Session 2021 Participants
Learning Labs are tutorials for learning the choreographed sequence which is composed of 32 gesture-based movements. It will be broken down into smaller sections of 10-12 gestures in each lab.
Practice Labs are an opportunity to fully engage in an uninterrupted run of the choreographed sequence, connecting all 32 gestures as a flowing, meditative movement practice. Each Practice Lab will conclude with a movement exploration inspired by memories of connection and touch thoughtfully guided by your facilitator.
Videos with guided instruction, Closed Captioning, and ASL are also available for participants upon request.
OUTDOOR PRACTICE LABS
Physically distanced Outdoor Practice Labs may be offered in Toronto when it is safe to do so. We will adhere to Ontario Health’s recommendations for outdoor gatherings. Our team will set up clear physical distancing marks and ask that you please bring and wear a mask.
Our Moving Connections facilitators will lead a warm-up and guide participants through the choreographed sequence.
Outdoor practice from Fall 2020; Photos by Drew Berry
in-studio workshops 2019
Zoom + Outdoor Workshops 2021
"Thank you so much for today! Such a beautiful experience. I kept smiling with amazement and joy...that a group of strangers could perform a series of actions creating intimacy and cohesion. I loved it."
- Phyllis Whyte, Moving Connections Participant
"I truly appreciated the sensitivity and generosity you and your team extended to us non-dancers. It felt such a safe and supportive space."
- Brenda Somers, Moving Connections Participant
Here’s what our 2020/2021 participants are saying about Moving Connections:
"[I felt emotional] during the experience and after, connecting through movement to my heart and to others -
feeling vulnerable and safe at the same time"
"I continue to be grateful for the experience. There is something magical about this group of people moving together (even through computer screens) through a series of gestures that feel really good to move through, set to a gorgeous piece of music, with warm-hearted, generous facilitators and fellow participants. For me, the experience has been both poignant and joyous, bringing up lots of emotion, and beyond that, it is fun to be moving... and connecting!"
"Feeling joyous and a surprising sadness is coming up for me, too. Grateful for how tender the approach is. Humbled and moved. And so happy to be moving my body with others in this disconnected time..."
"Seeing all of us moving together as a group in our individual interpretations was so beautiful and moving."
"[It was meaningful] to be able to move without judgement of myself, to be in real time with my moving body
and feeling present was a real blessing"
“The workshops have helped me to feel more at home in my body - a huge gift. They have made me feel less isolated during the pandemic, and a little less self-critical and more accepting of my body.”
“So healing and also helped me feel connected to others as well as my own body”
“Being part of something ongoing with others was meaningful during Covid isolation.”
"I am delighted to send my sincere congratulations to Kaeja d’Dance for the work that they have been able to accomplish in the last year with the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation,” said Jill Andrew, MPP for Toronto-St. Paul’s. “The Moving Connections Program could not possibly be blossoming at a more important time, when we are all faced with isolation due to COVID-19. Your work is not only inspirational, but impactful, and I am incredibly excited to see what lies ahead for the entire team at Kaeja d’Dance. You have shown us once again why it is vital that we invest in Ontario’s artists, a cause that will always have my support.”
Frequently asked questions
What is Moving Connections?
Who can participate?
What will I be doing?
Who is teaching it?
These workshops are facilitated by professional dance artists experienced in community engagement. Meet our fantastic team below!
Who created the choreographed sequence?
How much does it cost?
Where are the workshops?
ONLINE on Zoom. We hope to return to in-person workshops soon!
What is the schedule?
Future workshop dates TBA
How do I register?
We currently do not have any scheduled workshops or sessions. If you would like to know when Moving Connections begins again, stay in touch by joining our mailing list!
Where do I ask for information?
PROGRAM FOUNDER & DIRECTOR: Karen Kaeja
CHOREOGRAPHY CREATED BY: Karen Kaeja in collaboration with community members, Dec. 2019 Moving Connections module
ONLINE TEACHERS: Nickeshia Garrick, Mio Sakamoto, Elke Schroeder, Katherine Semchuk, Irma Villafuerte
PROGRAM COORDINATORS: Drew Berry, Katherine Semchuk
CONSULTANT: Dr. Pil Hansen
ADDITIONAL DECEMBER 2019 TEAM
WRITING COACH: Sandra Campbell
PSYCHOTHERAPIST OT: Margaret Powell
ADVISOR: Michelle Silagy
COMMUNITY FACILITATION: Jordana Deveau
MOVEMENT GUIDES: Michael Caldwell, Jordana Deveau, Mio Sakamoto, Elke Schroeder
RESEARCH ASSISTANT: Myrto Koumarianos
SCRIBE: Drew Berry, Elise Tigges
2019 COMMUNITY PARTICIPANTS: Pramila Aggarwal, Nadia Alpert, Mary Barr, Linda Bayliss, Pat Beaven, Pieter Biessels, Jane Deluzio, Joanne Desjardins, Lori Eisler, Luisa Giacometti, Christine Jackson, Suzanne Jaeger, David Keshen, Ana Lima, Sallie Lyons, Mary Anne Quance, Brenda Somers, Jini Stolk, Harold Tausch, Dianne Taylor, Cylla von Tiedemann, Patricia White, Phyllis Whyte, Myriam Zitouni
A BIG THANK YOU TO OUR COMMUNITY SUPPORT TEAM:
Elizabeth Bowes, Jane Deluzio, Lori Eisler, Lori Endes, Christine Jackson, Sallie Lyons, Lori Pacan, Phyllis Whyte
While we remain connected online, we welcome feedback from you at anytime firstname.lastname@example.org
Moving Connections is made possible by the generous support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, New Horizons Program and University of Calgary / Kaeja d’Dance partnership SSHRC grant - Moving Connections and aging partnership: sharing danced memories to build meaningful relations led by Dr. Pil Hansen.