Villa Charities 2018 Annual Report VC19_AnnualReport_Interiors_Apr29_FNL2 - Page 32

“ It was a great change from our regular exercise program. I really enjoyed the music.” danzarts toronto profi le – Maria Di Marco, VCT resident A new program begun in 2018 by DanzArts Toronto, the Columbus Centre’s school of dance, is bringing the joy of dance to seniors at Villa Colombo Toronto. Pillon adds, “Dance is more than exercise. It releases endorphins and is a way to bring people together. Everyone sings and dances, and leaves the class with so much joy.” Led by DanzArts Toronto’s Artistic Director, Tara Pillon, the program entered its first year with 12 seniors participating in regular classes at the long-term care facility’s Sala Caboto. The objective is to provide an opportunity for participants to exercise while enjoying traditional Italian music and the motion of dance. The program is also a way for DanzArts Toronto, Pillon and a student volunteer who assisted her to give back to the community. “Seeing the joy that it brings the seniors brings a whole new light to the beautiful art form that we study so rigorously at DanzArts,” Pillon says. More specifically, the classes are designed to increase mobility, strength, musicality and coordination. Some of the exercises engage participants in listening to the music and finding the different rhythms. Other exercises focus on individual muscle groups and joints, and having the participants move three-dimensionally. Based on the program’s success in its first year, DanzArts plans to further develop and expand it in 2019. This would include not only engaging with more Villa Colombo residents, but also extending it to other seniors in the community. Because the participants range in mobility, different versions of the dance exercises are taught to match the ability of every senior in the class. But there is one thing everyone in the room shares in common, says Pillon, and that is the universally understood language of dance and music. “Although everyone comes from different backgrounds and speaks different languages, we can all communicate through the art of dance and connect through the traditional Italian music,” Pillon remarks. “It’s a form of communication that does not require words.” 32 VILLA CHARITIES ANNUAL REPORT 33