Many of us fear old age. Why? Is it the fear of an aging body and mind? The fear of loneliness? Or is it simply because we place such incredible value on our youth? Regardless of the root of apprehension, the fact of the matter is that age is something that we often do not embrace. Even more frequently, the senior community lacks embrace, and continues to be widely under-served, especially when it comes to the arts. Not anymore, at least for the artists at Trifecta Dance Collective. Through their latest full-length work, In.Grained, Co-Artistic Directors Krissie Odegard Geye and Carrie Patterson along with the dancers of TDC engage with five senior women from the Glenview area to create dance with the power to transcend generations. DancerMusic’s Kristi Licera sat down with Krissie Odegard Geye to learn more about In.Grained, its roots, and the incredible women they are collaborating with:
We have so much to learn from the generations who came before us, and we wanted to take an opportunity to lift up their stories and make them accessible to everyone through dance.
Kristi: How did you and Co-Artistic Director Carrie Patterson embark on this project?
Krissie: Part of our mission of Trifecta Dance Collective is the three E’s- to Engage, Empower and Expand. It is important to us to engage with our entire community, and it is particularly important to me to foster inter-generational engagement and interaction. We have so much to learn from the generations who came before us, and we wanted to take an opportunity to lift up their stories and make them accessible to everyone through dance.
all of [the women] spoke of some time in their memory that they felt joy through dance. Whether it was watching their parent waltz in the living room, sock hops, or rushing home to watch American Bandstand, dance and music has always been a constant force in human relationships.
Kristi: In earlier conversation, you mentioned that dance was either a part of the life of, or had great significance for the women collaborating on In.Grained. How did you find the women that would be the heart and soul of In.Grained?
Krissie: We were put in touch with a group of women who are all members of a church widows organization. We planned an initial breakfast meeting and immediately fell in love with each of them and their life stories. When we first met, they had no clue what to expect. By meeting with us as a dance company, all of them spoke of some time in their memory that they felt joy through dance. Whether it was watching their parents waltz in the living room, sock hops, or rushing home to watch American Bandstand, dance and music has always been a constant force in human relationships.
Kristi: The selected women are more than just inspiration for In.grained; they are integral to the entire production, as they will be speaking on stage. Did you know from the start that the collaboration would be this involved?
After learning more about their lives, we knew we wanted them to share their experiences themselves. Each woman is going to speak on a specific time of their life, while dancers will assist in the storytelling through movement.
Krissie: This vision has unfolded throughout the collaboration. At the start, we were just excited to begin a working relationship with such important women in our community. After learning more about their lives, we knew we wanted them to share their experiences themselves. Each woman is going to speak on a specific time of their life, while dancers will assist in the storytelling through movement.
Kristi: Has the re-introduction of dance and involvement in the arts had a significant impact on the women involved? Conversely, how has the relationship you have developed with the women of In.Grained impacted you?
Krissie: We have been reminded of the beauty of life. Everyone has a story to tell: family, friends, neighbors. Sometimes we all get so caught up in the day to day that we forget to sit back and listen, make connections, and learn from one another.
We have been reminded that members of the senior community have a rich perspective on society, values, and time. We should look to them for guidance. The inspiration we have received from our contributors has fueled many of us to open a similar dialogue with our own grandparents. Since this project began, I personally have learned more about the origins of my family’s core values and traditions by speaking with my grandma. I now more deeply understand how her beliefs and values were created, and why those ideals have become the fabric of our family. I have a more open and grateful heart for these ideals.
We find ourselves not as collaborators, but as newfound friends with our contributors. We look forward to meeting with them and will most certainly continue our friendship after the project concludes. What a gift this endeavor has been to all of us! It is our great hope that this project will lead to similar inter-generational connections within communities.
We hope to give these women and their lives more exposure and to inspire others to connect with the older generations in their own lives.
Kristi: Senior citizens continue to be one of the most under-served communities, especially when it comes to mental health. What do you hope your audience will walk away with from In.Grained?
Krissie: We hope to give these women and their lives more exposure and to inspire others to connect with the older generations in their own lives. We hope to bring this performance to Senior Centers, and potentially offer dance classes/dance events for all generations to connect on a more personal level.
In.Grained will continue each year and focus on a different aspect of community collaboration. We are planning to partner with the adult participants of Special Gifts Theater in 2019.
Save the date for Trifecta Dance Collective’s preview of In.Grained: June 2nd, 2018, 6pm at the Vittum Theater. The evening includes special guest performances by Valerie Alpert Dance Company and Nomi Dance Company.
See the full production of In.Grained November 9th, 2018 at The Glen Club in Glenview.
For more information, visit trifectadance.org.
PHOTOS: Feature image and images 1. 3, 4 by Topher Alexander • Images 2, 5 by Jorge Sigler • DANCER IDS (L to R): Feature Image – Jennifer Sarsfield, Kim Galloway, Donna Hennessy, Cayla Roberts, Stephanie Cihlar • Image 1: Mary Cox and Felicity Nicholson • Image 2 – Felicity Nicholson and Deek Buckins (Sarah Yagelski on piano) • Image 3 – Mary Cox and Felicity Nicholson • Image 4 – Kim Galloway • Image 5 – Felicity Nicholson