Our ASaP spring semester was a busy one. It started with our annual ASaP Symposium, with the theme of Arts Programming in Health-Designing the Next Steps including guests Dr. Sara Houston, David Leventhal, Dr. Barry Prizant, Dr. Colleen Cavanaugh, Jane Hesser and Deanna Camputaro. The day included workshops, a lec-dem and discussion groups, ending with a design workshop led by student/TA Miranda Olson. The design workshop provided attendees with inspiring ways to put their ideas into action.
The week following the Symposium, ASaP took an exciting road trip to New York City. Participating dancers included the Newport County YMCA Dancing with Parkinson’s class, Dancing for the Aging Population class (DAPpers)at Brown University, Connecticut College Dancing with Parkinson’s class, and students from Brown University and Central Falls High School.
We were invited by the Paul Taylor Dance Company to perform the Rainbow Etude at their NY studios as a kick off to the Taylor spring season at Lincoln Center. Rainbow Round My Shoulder, the full-length piece choreographed by Donald McKayle, was part of the repertory being performed at Lincoln Center just a week later. Our dancers performed this etude at the 2015 ASaP Symposium Imagine: Art, Health and Technology, so they were excited to perform it again in a professional dance studio in New York City.
At 7am (the morning of daylight savings time!), the odyssey began on Waterman St. in Providence, picking up dancers from Brown then Connecticut College in New London, and ending in New York City at the Paul Taylor Dance Studios. Here, workshops and performances attracted local dancers, family members and friends, and professional dancers—even David Parsons, a former Paul Taylor dancer.
Our distinguished guest was Olive Adams, Julie’s mother, who at 103 participated in the DAPpers/Dancing with Parkinson’s community workshop.
The DAPpers/Dancing with Parkinson’s dancers had just performed the Parsons Etude a week earlier at the ASaP Symposium. Knowing that David Parsons would be attending the event, they rehearsed the Parson’s Etude in addition to the Rainbow Etude so they could give David a private performance.
The experience of performing the Parson’s Etude for David and then discussing his choreography and their performance was thrilling. He was interested in what they thought of his choreography and what it was like to perform it. An unforgettable moment was when David pulled out his iphone and started filming the dancers.
After the master class and Parson’s Etude, the dancers took to the big studio and performed the Rainbow Etude for a large audience. Here, the DAPpers and Dancing with Parkinson’s dancers followed the Brown, Dancing Legacy, and Central Falls High School performers and felt an overwhelming sense of inclusion within a community of dancers.
In April, ASaP went on the road again to present at the 5th Annual Conference on Arts and The Health Humanities: Intersections, Inquiries, Innovations at the Cleveland Clinic. ASaP was represented by Julie Strandberg, Rachel Balaban and 4 students: Melissa Dembski-Sullivan, Erick Guzman, Miranda Olson and Mackenzie Woodburn. Each of these students has been a TA for the course, helping to shape its content and direction.
This cross-disciplinary and interprofessional event brought together scholars, educators, clinicians, artists, health advocates, students, patients, and caregivers in an exploration of the intersection of arts, health humanities, and health care. Our team gave the history of ASaP, including its unique blend of art and science in an undergraduate education, and a description of the impact each of these students has had on the course and the impact the course has had on the students.
Another highlight of the trip was reconnecting with ASaP alum Cameron Donald who was also presenting at the conference. Cameron was part of the first team of TA’s who helped launch ASaP. After graduating from Brown, he completed his masters in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University and will begin medical school at the UCSF School of Medicine in the fall. It was great to meet up with our RI friends and colleagues attending the conference, Dr. Jay Baruch and Jane Hesser.
We all came away inspired with new ideas about the future of the intersection of art and science and with a clear understanding that what ASaP is doing at Brown is groundbreaking--being the only undergraduate student group represented at the conference.
Upon our return from Cleveland, Julie and Rachel led the annual dance workshop for first year medical school students as part of the Integrated Clinical Arts day offered by Brown’s Alpert Medical School. Students spent the afternoon exploring the healing power of music and dance.
We finished up our 2nd semester DAPpers class with a fun beach theme. Nothing like letting loose at the end of the semester.