Always Be Dancing Expressive Arts

Yoga and Flamenco for Every/body


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: The Dance of Interaction: An Embodied Approach to Nonverbal Communication Training for Caregivers of People with Dementia (Training Manual) by Donna Newman-Bluestein with Meg H. Chang

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I know the author, Donna Newman-Bluestein, through the dance and movement world in Boston, MA and was excited to have a chance to read and learn from her new training manual. Through her Dance For Connection work Donna brings joy, vitality and a sense of interconnectedness to people with dementia through playful, expressive movement and dance via direct programming and training caregivers.

This manual sets out to change the culture of care surrounding people with dementia within nursing home care by using mindfulness, movement and nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions. This manual strives to support caregivers, to help them to awaken their mindful selves, to guide them to trust their intuitions, and to enable them to go forth and shine. Embodied learning is mindfulness in-action and it empowers you to be authentically you so that you can see that every interaction with a person with dementia is an opportunity to build a relationship.

The chapters are carefully laid out and are broken down into easy to follow sections. One page, titled “If You Do Nothing Else…(pg. 77) that I found immensely helpful is a list of go-to strategies to try before approaching a person with dementia. This is a list of lifelines for the caregiver, because we all know “you have to put your air-mask on first before you can help anyone else…” In other words, this is a list of mindful mini’s to increase confidence, joy, and vitality so that caregivers can be at their best, fully aware, present and with self-control.

I highly recommend this work and trainings by Donna Newman-Bluestein. An embodied learning approach can be used caregivers, teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, anyone who works with patients with dementia and really any specialty group. This approach will make you curious, compassionate and above all authentic, vibrant and empowered to be the best you and the best caregiver. I love this beautiful, compassionate life line!

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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: The Tiptoeing Tiger by Philippa Leathers

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I love this little tigers determination! This is a delightful story about believing in oneself. It’s a story about resilience, learning that where there’s a will there’s a way and and knowing when to laugh. The illustrations accompany the words wonderfully. The tiger is so sweet and is accompanied by a whole menagerie of other sweet wild animals. Above all this is a book about knowing it is good to be you. It is a great confidence building book for young children. I have already used it in my early education yoga classes and the kids took to it right away and it paired perfectly with yoga poses such as tiger, elephant, rock, snake, monkey and frog. Love it! Sweet message!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me a cop of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Drawn From Nature by Helen Ahpornsiri

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Drawn From Nature in front of a watercolor by my mother Amelia Robin Agush. It was her rendition of the park next to our house.

This is an excellent nature book, weaved throughout by a book about the seasons accompanied by some of the nicest nature collages I have ever seen. I rate this book a Capital “G” for GREAT, GORGEOUS, GLORIOUS and GO GET it now! The beautiful art of Ms. Ahpornsiri is truly incredible. You can see her connection to nature through her attention to detail, employing so precisely varied colors, shapes and textures to form and enliven each creation. I love her imaginative use of tiny flowers, delicately curled ferns, spindly roots and all the perfectly preserved flora that accompanies so many interesting facts about nature. This book is just so beautiful. I highly recommend it. Get it for you…get it for the nature lover in your life…so many options!

Here is a sweet book trailer that I found online.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Black Bird Yellow Sun by Steve Light

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First off this book is so bright and captivating. I love that it is a board-book. Big kudos! I love the sharp-black raven/crow set against the brightly colored, tacky-paint textured palette of the pages. The colors make me feel happy. A cute addition is the special friend that follows through the book-catching the eye in each page spread, so there’s a game of eye-spy going on. This is a sweet first book of colors.

Here is a book trailer for it that I found online

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Mindful Book Reviews by Eve: Breathing Love: Meditation In Action by Jennie Lee

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This is a lovingly written book about choosing love. Ms. Lee passionately writes about loves inspiration and how it opens you up and strengthens your inner landscape to allow for a full experience of your true nature. Sat nam, I am my truth. Each chapter is headed by inspirational and unique quotes cited from spiritual leaders, poets and philosophers. Each one offering a gateway into the breadth of the chapter’s contemplations on love. This is a very thought provoking book and is a great addition to your body-mind-soul library. I highly recommend this book- it is eye (heart) opening And I have been seeing signs of love everywhere since I read it. There is unifying peace in the release into universal love.


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Book Reviews By Eve: Unclouded by Longing: Meditations on Autism and Being Present in an Overwhelming World by Christopher Goodchild

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Wood Carving by Amelia Robin Gloss (my mother)

Right off the bat, I was inspired by Christopher Goodchild, this talented author with Autism, who has so skillfully mastered the art of the written word. His writing is profound, flowing and self-reflective. It is within his own contemplation while holding silence that he arrives at his perspective and then is able to put this into beautifully written passages. The depths to which his contemplations take us allow us to explore and meditate on ourselves and through his writings we learn not only to listen but to hear what is in the silence. You do not have to read this book in one sitting-it is best savored.

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I was deeply moved by this book. It is powerful and direct. I highly recommend it as a companion to your contemplation practice. Additionally, the book is accompanied by beautiful black and white scratch art by illustrator Julie Lonneman. The two artist blend very well together. IMG_8531

Thank you to Jessica Kingsley Publishing for sending me a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.


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Book Reviews by Eve: Find The Dots by Andy Mansfield

IMG_8462Now this is a fun book! My mother was a paper artist, so I was completely enchanted by the crafty pull, push, lift, twist and peek tabs. This book has clever tactile puzzles on each page as the reader is directed to search for a number of certain color dots. This book is challenging but with a bit of focus and some problem solving techniques, every dot will be found. I really enjoyed the splendid color palette. It is bright and engaging yet still soft on the eyes.

I highly recommend this fun and educational book. It can be read alone or together. Reading it together is such a great way to introduce problem solving, cooperation and to instill the joy of discovery in a calm, non-stressful way. My fifteen year old chuckled a few times while reading it and gives it a thumbs up!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.