Groove Tonic (formerly Art in Motion) is a dance and movement initiative that meets every Tuesday evening at the Picton Town Hall for barefoot free-form movement with music. Everyone is welcome to join us with no dance experience necessary. It is an opportunity to let creative movement flow freely through the body in a large open space, on a warm wooden floor. A play list of music is accompanied by percussive instruments, with varying tempos, rhythms and melodies ranging from slow and meditative to high energy. Our dancers look forward to Groove Tonic every week because the open space, combined with the positive, welcoming atmosphere allows them to freely release energy and tensions, exercise both body and creative spirit, and connect with other community members. It is especially helpful during the winter months when being barefoot, working up a sweat, engaging creatively and connecting with other people can really help to allay the “winter blues”. We have participants ranging in age from young children – with parental accompaniment – to elderly people.
The group is run by volunteers and our rent is covered by donations. We ask for a $5 donation from participants each week, and volunteers bring music and percussion instruments which participants are welcome to use.
This group started out in 2010 under the name “Art in Motion”. It was sponsored by the PEC Arts Council and headed by Jutta Naim (artist, former therapist and classically trained dancer). We rented a space at the Mary Magdalen church on Main St, but were only given bi-monthly access. The cost of rent was significantly higher than the cost of renting the Picton Town Hall. We did not want to raise our accessible donation rate and decided to look for alternative spaces to rent. We were thrilled when we found that as a not-for-profit community group, we could book the Picton Town Hall for an affordable rate, we could have access to the hall every week and our weekly donations would cover our costs. We began using the Picton Town Hall in 2014. In 2016, Jutta stepped down as facilitator and Tamara Segal took over the role from her. We began renting the Picton Town Hall as a community group called “The Creative Collective”. As part of our mandate to offer accessible movement-oriented opportunities to the community, over the last four years the Creative Collective has also booked yoga classes (offered by donation) and occasional workshops in other types of creative movement like NIA (a dance and martial arts influenced practice).
The Picton Town Hall provides a centrally located space which is accessible by foot to numerous people. It is a large enough size that it can host many people with lots of room to move around freely. Its soft wooden floor offers reduced impact for various types of movement, making barefoot dance and floor stretching comfortable and safe. The rental rates allow us to offer community members an accessible weekly practice that supports physical and mental wellness. We feel grateful every week that we have access to this beautiful space. We do not know of any other local space that can offer us all of these components. We hope we will continue to have access to the Hall so that our group can continue to flourish.
Contributed by Tamara Segal, Groove Tonic Facilitator