By Walter Rutledge
Dance of the Village Elders, a dance and fitness class designed for senior citizens, will hold their end of year demonstration and performance on Tuesday, July 1, 6:30pm at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Joan Weill Center for Dance, 455 West 55 Street at 9th Avenue in Studio 5A/5B. The 60-minute presentation will include a demonstration of the fitness training and movement program, the audience is encouraged to join in. Followed by a dance performance entitled Walt’s Bevy Of Beautiful Babes- Live from the Champagne Lounge set to the Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald rendition of Satin Doll. The evening celebrates Harlem’s glamorous nightlife heyday of the 1950’s.
The dance and fitness program sponsored by the Ailey Arts in Education & Community Programs and Harlem Hospital Center is a bi-weekly class that emphasizes the importance of strength training and mobility through movement. Far too often seniors become prone to injury due to inactivity. The class stresses three elements to longevity and a good quality of life stretching, strength training and cardio vascular stimulation. In addition the class is a village, a community where socialization and esteem building through personal growth are fostered.
The class has met for ten months beginning in September and the participants have made great advancements in both physical endurance and motor skills. On June 14th the group was invited to be a part of the Juneteenth celebration. They waved to the crowd from a float in the parade through Harlem and then performed during the festivities at 116th Street.
The class also performed in the Goin Home section of Solstice Steps a three day dance installation at the 125th Street pier. Goin’ Home was commissioned by Dances For A Variable Population and in addition to the “Village Elders” featured Ailey alumni Dudley Williams, Loretta Abbott and Dyane Harvey; Bruce Heath and Christopher Fishburn completed the professional cast. Choreographer and instructor Walter Rutledge created a dance narrative that combined family and community.
The Dance of the Village Elders Tuesday, July 1st performance is free to the public. A meet and greet reception will immediately follow the performance. Please call Monique Hedmann at (212) 305-8674 more information or to RSVP.