HOUSATONIC, Mass. (NEWS10) — Berkshire Pulse, a dance and performance arts education center in downtown Housatonic, is bringing back its “Moving Life Stories” program, with workshops in Great Barrington and Pittsfield. Moving Life Stories is a creative movement class geared toward the Berkshire immigrant population and their allies.
These workshops provide opportunities to share personal journeys, stories, and connections to places past and present through movement games, exercises, dancing, and community building.
Great Barrington sessions run Fridays from 6 to 8 p.m., February 3 through March 24 at the Southern Berkshire Friends Meeting House. Pittsfield sessions take place on Tuesdays from 6 to 8 p.m., April 4 to May 23 at the Pittsfield YMCA.
“The Moving Life Stories program grew from our most essential belief at Pulse, which is that dance can provide people from different cultures, ages, and walks of life with ways to express themselves, find community connections, and celebrate what makes us unique as individuals in a shared experience of inclusivity and respect,” says Berkshire Pulse Artistic Director & Founder Bettina Montano.
In this series of workshops, participants will explore various ways to tell and embody their stories through play, creative movement, and the creation of dance. No prior movement experience is required, and the class is appropriate for all ages, according to a spokesperson for the program.
“I’ve spent the past three decades creating and teaching with a wide variety of people, from children to firefighters, and from people living with AIDS to older adults, and I have found working with the immigrant population of the Berkshires to be particularly sweet, important, and rewarding,” says Tom Truss, Moving Life Stories Lead Teaching Artist. “The depth that we go to and the joy that we find in each class is such a gift. I am so looking forward to being part of that community-making again, especially during such complicated and trying times. It’s a treat to have a few hours a week to play, share and move with delightful, generous, open people!”
A Spanish-speaking interpreter will be present. Childcare is provided, and transportation can be arranged, organizers said.
Moving Life Stories began as a partnership between Berkshire Pulse and Kimball Farms Life Care Facility. Designed by Pulse faculty Susan Quinn and Ian Spencer Bell, the initial program connected students from the Young Choreographer’s Program with seniors at Kimball Farms in a collaborative process combining writing and choreography.
Today, Moving Life Stories is still a program that partners with community organizations and integrates personal life stories and movement. Now, however, it is rooted in the immigrant community of Berkshire County.