The following is a post written by Ashley, a current student in Memory, Aging & Expressive Arts
We were mixing up different paint colors at our table when the song changed on the stereo and I heard a gasp from my MAEA community partner. I turned to find her dancing to the rhythm of the song with a paint brush swinging from side to side in her hand. I couldn’t help but smile and start to dance along too. When she dipped her brush in the paint and pressed it to our blank canvas her rhythm never stopped. The dancing was transformed move by move, stroke by stroke into a painting. And as the dancing was translated into painting, nothing else seemed to matter. Not the paint on the undersides of our shoes or staining the edges of our sleeves. Not the mess we would have to clean up later. Not even the coldness or starkness of the day outside. The music seemed to guide her from one stroke to the next, from one color to another. And when the song switched again it was like a new set of hands were guiding her through the painting than before. A faster song with quick jabs of the brush. A smoother song with longer lazy strokes stretching across the canvas. By the end of the session what existed on the canvas was pure chaos. Colors and textures overlapping one another smattered across the white background. Yet you could feel the energy of each marking and the joy that went into the piece. You could see the music and the dancing in the layers and the colors. And you could clearly see the beauty in the chaos of it. When our session came to a close, not only my MAEA partner, but both of us were clearly tired. The dance painting had taken all of our energy and turned it into something beautiful. But through the tiredness I could also feel a sense of lightness. A happiness that my day had begun with a woman who could take song and turn it into art.