A large group of seniors turned up at St. Luke’s Church Hall in Annapolis Royal on Monday, September 24 to have fun, exercise their bodies and stretch their minds. Company of Angels engaged teacher/choreographer Annemarie Cabri to conduct a BrainDance workshop. This was Annemarie’s second trip to Annapolis Royal. She ran two very popular BrainDance workshops in 2016 and Company of Angels was finally able to get her back this year.
BrainDance evolved from an approach designed to help school children focus their attention, improve their reading skills and enhance their motor development through movement. It soon became clear that the technique had major benefits for all ages.
BrainDance movement has been shown to reorganize the neurological system; increase blood and oxygen flow to the respiratory system and the brain; enhance core support and range of motion. Many of the routines, especially the cross-body movements, open up the pathways from one side of the brain to the other.
Members of Company of Angels are very familiar with the movement tool as Company Artistic Director Randy Glynn incorporates the principles of BrainDance into his warmups and choreography for the group.
“Our body is continuously changing,” explains Annemarie Cabri. “ This affects our physical health, our mind and our ability to learn. In order to be at our highest potential, our brain must be constantly learning to adapt to these everyday changes.”
The benefits of dance are born out in a 21-year study of seniors 75 and older led by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. One of the surprises of the study was that almost none of the physical activities studied appeared to offer any protection against dementia, with one notable exception: frequent dancing was the only physical activity which reduced the risk of dementia and that risk reduction was 76%. This was the greatest risk reduction of any activity studied, cognitive or physical.
Participants definitely came away from the workshop invigorated and smiling.
“Annemarie was brilliant. She had the group gliding, spinning, even swimming like fishes!”
“This was a joyful, stimulating and motivating class. The music and dance routines lifted my spirits and I felt strengthened in brain and body.”
Annemarie Cabri specializes in Brain-compatible Dance Education for all ages and abilities in a diversity of environments. A graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School, Annemarie danced seven seasons with The Dutch National Ballet before moving to Vancouver to continue her professional dance career as an independent artist and company member of Judith Marcuse Dance. In 2014/2015 she held the position of Head, Junior School Professional Ballet Division at the School of Alberta Ballet and continues to serve at the School as a guest teacher. Since 2010 she has worked as artist educator and choreographer with novice movers in the education department of The National Ballet of Canada. She is the director of Cabri Creative Dance and is a much sought after guest teacher/choreographer across Canada. (Photo courtesy of Susan Tileston)