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MOVING

CONNECTIONS

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.

Please contact kaeja.team@gmail.com for workshop inquiries. 


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!

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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.

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Outdoor practice from Fall 2020; Photos by Drew Berry

Moving Connections

in-studio workshops 2019

Moving Connections

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?


This format of Moving Connections is a workshop series that brings people together through a live movement practice online and outdoors (when COVID regulations permit it.) In a choreographed sequence developed in collaboration with a community of older adults just before the pandemic, we will move in harmony with one another from our own spaces. This practice evokes a distilled reflection of hope embracing meaningful connections made with people in our lives. The sequence consists of 32 movements that are simple, gestural and easy to learn.




Who can participate?


This workshop welcomes anyone who is interested - no dance experience is necessary. It is open to participants of all bodies, abilities, and ages, however we suggest adult accompaniment for very young movers. The choreographed sequence can be done standing, sitting, or with any other modification. Our instructors will provide movement options for all abilities and accessibilities. If you have specific accessibility questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact kaeja.team@gmail.com Videos with guided instruction, Closed Captioning and ASL are available after attending a workshop.




What will I be doing?


You will practice a gentle choreographed sequence, made up of 32 gesture-based movements. Monday Learning Labs will be your tutorials for the sequence and will be broken down into sections of 10-12 gestures. Wednesday Practice Labs will give you the opportunity to fully engage in the choreography as a meditative practice, stringing all 32 gestures together. Workshops also include a warm-up aspect and a guided movement exploration. The choreography can be done standing, sitting, and with any other modifications. Guided by a professional dance artist who will be demonstrating and engaging in each movement throughout the entire workshop, you will learn alongside a community of participants online or outdoors. You will be dancing before you know it! If you would like Moving Connections to be part of your prgramming, please contact us to discuss custom workshop formats for your participants' needs.




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?


The choreographed sequence was developed by Karen Kaeja in collaboration with a group of older adults during a community workshop in December 2019. Through guided prompts and explorations, these movements stem from personal stories, contributed by those who were present in the workshop. The Moving Connections Project and workshops were conceived, directed and developed in 2018 by Karen Kaeja. The project is an umbrella for her three decades of research of intergenerational collaborative dance making created through personal stories. Karen’s early training as a Dance Therapist where she pioneered the first Dance Therapy program at North York’s Baycrest Centre, seeded her research on the benefits of dancing for older adults and has now blossomed into the Moving Connections Project.




How much does it cost?


A donation option is available to support the Moving Connections program here. Please contact us for rates.




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?


E-mail kaeja.team@gmail.com for more information.





MEET OUR TEAM!

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KAREN
KAEJA
Program Founder
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NICKESHIA
GARRICK
Teacher
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MIO
SAKAMOTO
Teacher
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IRMA
VILLAFUERTE
Teacher
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DREW 
BERRY
Program Coordinator
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KATHERINE
SEMCHUK
Program Coordinator
and Facilitator
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ELKE
SCHROEDER
Teacher
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DR. PIL
HANSEN
Consultant

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 kaeja.team@gmail.com


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.