Katrina Pavlovsky will bring the joyful, gentle and simple chair dance with a dose of health benefits to Oak Bay.
She offers three free sessions at Oak Bay United Church in June, with plans for paid classes if there’s interest.
The dance/movement educator relocated to Victoria more than eight years ago and started working in care, shifting away from her career as a youth educator.
“I realized I wasn’t able to continue dance education for children due to budgets,” she said.
Her expertise was with troubled youth, those with mental health concerns, or those in need of just a little something extra. When she started working with a different crowd than elementary school aged kids, and discovered a niche in her elder clients.
“I realized there was a need and took it into facilities,” she said.
One of the most exciting things in the two-plus years since she started the chair dance courses, is a performing group that came out of the assisted living facility Amica at Somerset House in Victoria.
“It was their initiative, their choreography,” Pavlovsky said. “The vibrancy and enthusiasm was contagious.”
She extols the virtues of chair dance – a safe and secure way to strengthen the mind and body connection. Through playful expressive movement participants become engaged, stimulated and happy.
“People with dementia, though they don’t remember coming each week, don’t remember the moves, they still participate,” she said. “The mind and body inter-relate and get nurtured through dance.”
Dance therapy lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, increases cognitive function, strengthens muscle tone, increases flexibility and co-ordination as well as confidence and well-being.
“The reason a chair is so wonderful is it gives stability,” Pavlovsky said.
Classes are progressive, becoming more challenging each week. No two sessions are alike as the music evolves with the crowd.
“I try to take my cues from participants,” Pavlovsky said. “I want people to know they’re managing, they’re more than managing, that it’s doable, it’s an accomplishment.”
Sessions start with a warmup that incorporates yoga and modern dance and conclude with relaxation techniques.
The classes are open to all ages of ‘seniors’ and suitable for those healing post stroke, surgery or enduring other diminished functions.
“It’s about adding rhythm and enhancing expression through music and dance,” she said. “Dance is a celebratory foundation of expression, or it certainly has the potential to be.”
The complimentary classes are June 2, 9 and 16 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Oak Bay United Church, 1355 Mitchell Ave.
Call 250-598-1846 for more information.