No doubt you now have heard of Zoom, which is used extensively to conduct virtual meetings since the spread of COVID-19. OLLI also is considering its use for group communications.
Have you considered using Zoom to keep in touch with your family?
One of my sisters and her family live in Chicagoland, while my other sister lives in Tucson. We were together as a group most recently on Christmas Day in 2018. When my 30-year-old niece, Amy, suggested that we gather virtually using Zoom, I literally jumped at the chance.
Instead of gathering as Brady Bunch heads to share our recent safer-at-home stories, we danced!
Amy is training to be a facilitator for the World GROOVE Movement, which “is dedicated to spreading the joy of dance! Groove is a delicious and unique way that makes dance easy, accessible and fun for everyone…If you can move, you can groove!”
Amy facilitated a group dance of young adults in the last few months. The opportunity to facilitate other groups ended abruptly with the spread of COVID-19. Amy decided to try facilitating a group dance virtually, starting with our family.
Scheduling a Zoom gathering across three time zones proved to be challenging. We agreed to Zoom at 3:30 EDT, 2:30 CDT and 12:30 MST (Tucson never changes its time).
One by one we appeared on the screen, thanks to our varied devices. It was fantastic to see each other virtually for the first time in 15 months.
Amy told us the rules as the facilitator and disk jockey: create a space where you can move easily without tripping over furniture or rugs, don’t talk during the dances or she will mute us, move in any way that is comfortable, and take breaks and drink fluids anytime. Our ages range from 6 to 67.
She created a playlist on her phone for the 45-minute session. Before Amy played each tune, she described the types of movements that fit with the musical style. She repeatedly encouraged us to be creative by saying, “You can’t get it wrong!”
Amy started out with two warm-up tunes. We stretched and wiggled fingers, toes, arms and legs. Then we “played the piano” to exercise our fingers and moved rapidly around our space to prepare ourselves for the most active numbers.
With a nod to both Baby Boomers and Millennials, Amy chose some great tunes. We moved, grooved and were encouraged to sing along with Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (The Supremes) and Think! (Aretha Franklin). She then played Good to Be Alive (Meghan Trainor) with group-unifying movements toward each other on the screen. She played some cool-down tunes like Don’t Worry, Be Happy (Bobby McFerrin) before ending the playlist with meditational music.
Filled with much-needed endorphins, we all felt relaxed and truly grateful to share our joy. We now do Groove dancing every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. This is a sacred family time.
Give Groove dancing a try by checking out their website: https:/theworldgroovemovement.com.
Diane Russell joined OLLI in 2014. She has taken over 70 OLLI courses on leadership, radio, life story writing, Tai Chi, healthy aging, literature, science, politics, sociology, technology, theater, genealogy, and humanities.
Diane volunteers as a proofreader for the OLLI class catalog and for OLLI Connects.