Friendly Folk Dance, an international folk dance experience for people with memory loss and their loved ones, had its first series at Yesler Community Center in June. Teaching artist and folk dance instructor Susan Wickett-Ford of Silver Kite Community Arts led eight participants in a variety of dances.
Program participant Alice Padilla loves to dance and is thrilled there is a dementia-friendly dance opportunity that is open to all abilities: “This is so good for us! Dancing gets your whole body going. It is beautiful to see all the smiles from the other dancers, it is fun learning different types of dance. This is a joyful experience that is good for the heart and mind.”
Like so many, folk dance instructor Susan Wickett-Ford has personal experience with memory loss in her family. “I love being part of this so much. Previously in my life I ran from anything that had to do with Alzheimer (books, movies, fundraisers, articles, even conversations) like the plague because it was associated with only horribleness. And now I have these associations with art, and playfulness and joy. Amazing.”
Friendly Folk Dance is funded in part by the Seattle Park District. Approved by voters in 2014, the Seattle Park District provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding for Seattle Parks and Recreation including maintenance of parklands and facilities, operation of community centers and recreation programs, and development of new neighborhood parks on previously-acquired sites.