Maria Genne, MEd
Maria Genné is a dancer, choreographer and educator, Her award winning work to create interactive dance, music and story programs for older adults is designed to tap into the artistry and creativity of older adults and invite them to be collaborators in the artistic process of dance, music and storytelling. It models a new and vital role in society for the community based professional performing artist. Her choreography is recognized for it's ability to highlight the beauty of human experience through movement and story.
1. Teaching artist background/education/training
Education MEd, specializing in the Arts, Center For Teaching and Learning, University of North Dakota
BSEd., Elementary and Early Childhood, Center for Teaching and Learning University of North Dakota, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Roosevelt University.
Dance training with Bill Evans, Nancy Hauser, Erick Hawkins and Utah Repertory Dance Theater with special workshops with Merce Cunningham, Viola Farber, Laura Dean, Shirley, Bill T. Jones, Billy Siegenfield and Twyla Tharp. She studied creative dance with Virginia Tanner, Anne Green Gilbert and Barbara Lacey.
2. Teaching experience
Developing and teaching creative dance programs for children, families, teachers, administrators, professionals in social service and healthcare and since 1976.
As a Dance and Theater specialist Genné has taught thousands of students from early childhood through high school in Indiana, North Dakota, Washington, Utah and Minnesota. As an arts educator she has worked with many populations, including students with cognitive and physical challenges, beginning in the 1980’s for the Courage Center, VSA Minnesota and as a Minneapolis Public School dance specialist at “Michael Dowling School for Crippled Children” and workshops for teachers and teaching professionals, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Washington, including “Dance and the Special Needs Child and “Celebration - Dance and Music for Children with Special Needs,” Very Special Arts Minnesota; workshops for children, adults and senior adults for the Courage Center, MN (1981-2000).
Genné was one of the original dance consultants for the Perpich Center for Arts Education’s Dance Education Initiative (DEI), leading teacher workshops, writing curriculum, mentoring teachers and working with administrators. She has been a dance specialist (1980 – 2005) for MacPhail Center for the Arts, Walker Art Center, ArtStart, and Public Schools and Early Childhood Programs in Minneapolis, Edina, Hopkins and St. Paul, Minnesota Children’s Museum and WAMSO family programs in support of the Minnesota Orchestra, which included creating intergenerational programs.
Genné was Founder and Artistic Director from 1988-1997 of Young Dance, a young peoples' modern dance company. During that time, the company performed at Dance and Child International in Salt Lake City, Utah, toured and presented their “Invitation to Dance” residencies in out-state MN schools for the Perpich Center for Arts Education.
In 1999 she founded Kairos Dance Theatre, an intergenerational dance company whose members have ranged from 10 months to 101 years. In 2001 she developed and created the Dancing Heart™ a national award winning dance, music and story program for older frail adults and intergenerational communities. Currently, Dancing Heart,™ which is research based and led by a team of professional artists at 9-11 sites each week in metropolitan Twin Cities and outstate Minnesota, under the direction of Genné..
3. Ages, demographics,and unique characteristics of past learners
Early childhood (infants through pre-K) through high school, newborns through 18 yrs.
Students (pre-K –adults) with cognitive and physical challenges: Courage Center, Very Special Arts Minnesota, students (4 -14 years) at “Michael Dowling School for Crippled Children” and workshops for teachers and teaching professionals, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Washington, including “Dance and the Special Needs Child and “Celebration - Dance and Music for Children with Special Needs,” Very Special Arts Minnesota; workshops for children, adults and senior adults for the Courage Center, MN.
Intergenerational programs (infants – 101 years) in Minnesota, as well as guest teacher in Washington DC, NYC, CA, WA and NJ. Developed Dancing Heart program for adults with mental illness at Ravoux, St. Paul Public Housing (2011-2012)
Director of Dancing Heart, which has served more than 2000 older, frail adults, many with cognitive and physical challenges, including those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of cognitive impairment, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, hearing and vision loss in Adult Day Programs, Senior Centers, Independent Living and Veteran’s programs. Many participants are low income and are considered vulnerable adults. Our new Dancing Heart for Caregivers program began in 2012.
4. Professional artistic history
Artistic and Executive Director of KAIROS ALIVE! (Kairos Dance Theatre), which includes KAIROS dance, an intergenerational dance company. KAIROS dancing heart , an artist-led pioneering, national award-winning, evidence-based dance, theater, music, and story arts program that is transforming the lives of frail elders and KAIROS lab.
“Coming Alive: Kairos Dance Theatre’s Dancing Heart™ – Vital Elders Moving in Community” in, Enhancing Cognitive Fitness in Adults: A Guide for Use and Development of Community-Based Programs, Springer, 2011
“Kairos Dance Theatre Makes a World” in Animated Fall 2010, publication of the Community Dance Foundation, Great Britain
“The Dancing Heart™ – Vital Elders Moving in Community,” Fall 2008 LLI Review, published by Osher Life Long Learning
2011 Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Award
2008 Mind-Alert Award from The American Society on Aging and MetLife
2007 Archstone Award for Excellence in Program Innovation from the American Public Health Association.