Sarah and Wayne saw the same PBS Newshour story about Dance for PD. Our e-mails crossed in cyber-space: “let’s do this!” Just weeks later, it turned out, there was a teacher training in Denver, so Sarah and Jan signed up. The trio started a weekly class they called “Reconnect with Your Body: dance for people with and without Parkinson's” as a program of Art as Action. Jan and Wayne are brother and sister; and Sarah is Jan’s daughter, Wayne’s niece. Ernie (Wayne and Jan's dad, Sarah's grandpa) joined the team, providing financial and moral support.
For months only one or two other dancers might attend class, but often it was just Sarah, Jan and Wayne. We did everything we could think of to get the word out. Finally, we found a handful of regulars, but we still needed Ernie’s support to keep it going. After a move to Arvada the class grew enough to be self-sustaining, and eventually to start a second weekly class in Broomfield. We were glad that Ernie got to see our success before he died.
Once Reconnect was a substantial program, the trio began to look beyond organizing and sustaining the program. We wanted to explore our potential as dancers in live performances. This culminated in establishing a performance company involving Reconnect and other dancers, and then in our jointly choreographed “Grace Trio” performed in the last Art as Action show.
Our trio is more than family; we're loving collaborators and closest friends. And Ernie is always close to our hearts.
"My sister and I have always been close. As kids growing up, we constantly moved from town to town and country to country. Ours was the only relationship on which we could depend. Sarah has always had a flair for performance with which I identified, and our affection for one another seemed to grow naturally from a mutual understanding. My father and I rarely spoke for most of 40 years. We misunderstood each other, and had no idea how to figure the other out. Then in 2005 I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I was estranged from my own body and my old life. I wrote poems and continued to teach. I had to learn to be this “broken” new-me. Making “Reconnect” strengthened the bonds among Jan, Sarah and I, and provided a way to begin healing the broken bonds with my father and within myself. Together, we became a powerful force! And we turned it into dance! Then we invited others into our circle—and it became even more powerful. 'Grace Trio' explains it all better than I can." - Wayne A. Gilbert, Reconnect Co-Founder and Art as Action Company Member
"Creating and developing Reconnect has been the most meaningful journey of my creative life. Somehow Wayne's Parkinson's diagnosis and my dance-career ending injury led to this surprising well of grace out of which we built this incredible community. Our unique family connection, history of artistic collaboration and the tools from Dance for PD set us up to create a space where dance was for every BODY - and the amazing humans that have joined us in that space have expanded our family and our hearts. The piece, '(grace) TRIO' was a wonderful way to express the journey we have taken together and our powerful connection to each other." - Sarah Leversee, Reconnect teacher & Art as Action Artistic Director
"I always wanted to be a dancer--in my dreams and imagination. When I joined Wayne (my brother) and Sarah (my daughter) at the training for Dance for PD, it was the beginning of a journey like no other. Within Art as Action, we created the Reconnect dance class. It grew very slowly so we had time together to dream, plan and hope for the future. Our relationships deepened and broadened as we took each step. Sarah chose the perfect music. Wayne tried every move she demonstrated. I allowed my doubts and fear to drop away. As more dancers arrived, our family connection stretched to each one. The love and humor and respect and fun were contagious. We all found new ways to embrace our limitations and dance anyway. We built a community of belonging and beauty. 'Grace trio' is our story. As it continues to flourish, we could use some help. Please donate whatever you can." - Jan Gilbert Leversee, Reconnect Co-Founder and Art as Action Company Member
What started as a small dance class has become a thriving multi-faceted program that includes weekly classes at two locations and community engagement in the Parkinson’s and dance communities throughout Colorado. Please support the growing Reconnect MOVEment. Money is energy: any donation, large or small, adds a spark to our growing fire. Art as Action is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductible. -------
Art as Action (AaA) is a physically integrative dance company in Broomfield, Colorado redefining what it means to be a DANCER. For our company members, class participants and audience members:
· Connection is more important than perfection, curiosity is more important than being right.
· It is possible to honor your own body’s needs/limitations AND experience the expansiveness of dance.
· The beauty, healing, and storytelling powers of dance are attainable for everybody.
· Creativity is a human right.
OUR MISSION: Art as Action brings people together at the intersection of dance, (dis)ability and creative potential.