Lifelong dancer Claire Rodill has been a dance and movement therapist for 25 years, teaching people with physical movement and cognitive disorders. Her new weekly Wednesday afternoon class, Dance for All Abilities and Levels (2 pm Wednesday May 30. $10. Dance Station, 947-B W Alameda St.) is a great opportunity for folks who like to move, particularly those with limited mobility, to get some exercise and socialization. All styles, types of music, types of people and types of experience are welcome; Rodill just requests you give her a heads-up if you plan on coming (577-8187 or email@example.com).
What should people know before they come?
There’s no wrong way to do the movements. They don’t need to worry about making a mistake; the way they move is the way they move. They don’t have to look exactly like the teacher, they can move the way their body wants to move. … There’s no experience necessary, they can go at their own pace, and if they normally have an aid for their disorder, it’s requested that they bring it with them. Virtually all the movements are designed to be done seated.
What about for someone like me, for whom dancing is their worst nightmare?
You would be the interesting challenge! My theory, and you can ask any dancer, is that anyone can dance. There’s no such thing as two left feet. People who are reluctant to dance, they have this idea that you have to look like a ballerina or something like that, but dance is just moving to music. Period. Having the expectation that you need a special ability—no! When you see people walking down the street, or marching, it’s one, two, one, two, one, two. … All movement has rhythm. You just listen to your heart. Your heart beats with a rhythm. Just go by the beat of your heart. It’s very natural, and anyone can dance. And if you absolutely are not convinced, I also teach aerobics with weights, so you don’t really have to take a dance class. I have a repertoire of different movement techniques.
What about someone who’s in decent health, but just doesn’t feel like they move enough?
I got a call from a guy just a couple days ago who wants to learn just a couple simple moves. He told me to go on YouTube and check out ‘Uptown Funk.’ … The class is called Dance for All Abilities—so if you have a bad knee or something, I will teach at the level of a normally-abled person. So for this guy, I’m going to teach a routine I already know: It’s from West Side Story, the Sharks and the Jets. I’m going to teach that rumble, and the people who have more serious disorders … they can do the same routine, but seated. Whatever level they’re at, they can go for it with freedom of movement, or we adapt the dance. It’s for everybody. … For people who are able-bodied, they can socialize and get to know people. There’s still a stigma about people with disabilities, and this is an inclusive atmosphere where everyone is just a human being.