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The Dancing Heart: Vital Caregivers Moving in Community

Kairos Dance Theatre

Minneapolis, MN

Kairos Dance Theatre is a community-based arts organization including an intergenerational dance company in Minnesota. Most of the organization’s energy is focused on 7 to 8 weekly The Dancing Heart program sites. Kairos’ work is based on a collaborative artistic engagement model within healthcare systems; and a fundamental shift from the traditional medical model, where caregivers see and respond to the recipients’ deficits, to an assets building model. The organization’s goal is to create an environment where participants, caregivers, and volunteers are valued and their gifts are woven into our creative work together. Kairos brings dance, storytelling, and community building expertise into collaboration with caregivers in healthcare settings. Website: www.kairosdance.org

The Vital Caregivers Program of the Kairos Dance Theatre improves the well-being of caregivers who work in or have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease in a memory care adult day program or assisted living facility. It is based on The Dancing Heart: Vital Elders Moving in Community, Kairos’ pioneering, national program that has improved caregiver satisfaction and institutional cultures while providing measurable health benefits to participants, and cost-of-care savings to institutions. Using participatory community-based performing arts creation strategies, it provides in-depth opportunities for artistic development, higher-level physical activity, and community connection. The program has been shown to measurably slow the process of dementia, and sustain or improve physical, emotional, and cognitive health in participants, and to vivify caregivers.