How We Impact & What We Do
- We get people moving in a FUN way that inspires.
- We invite participants to create along with us.
- We partner with community organizations, students, and others to create a dynamic curriculum, tailored and adaptable.
- We educate the participants and the community about what works to improve balance, postural stability, and how to optimize and enjoy movement.
- We not only dance, we educate. We inform people of what works for improving balance, how to stay safe, and choices we all have to improve our mobility.
- We encourage practice because practice works: Three hours per week, specifically! We offer multiple ways to practice to match multiple learning styles and needs, from paper handouts to video instruction.
- We listen and create space for improvisation and creative movement. We incorporate ideas from all who are present into our curriculum; we grow and change because of the people who are present.
- We share research and expertise; for example, fear is one of the greatest predictors of a fall, so improving confidence in movement can help and it motivates people to challenge themselves.
- We conduct balance and cognitive tests, as well as a confidence screening that gives people a snapshot of how they are doing; we encourage sharing this with their family, friends, and health care providers. Dancers can use their results as motivation, behavior change, and even to show off!
- We break up dances to fit our needs. Tailored movement is critical when working on improving balance.
- We challenge people in a safe environment so they learn they really are capable and empowered to move differently. We strive to be accessible for all, even those who say they “aren’t dancers”.
- Dance helps the hippocampus grow, even in older adults, as compared to fitness-only activities. We are born knowing rhythm, and music makes movement more fun. It also has a role in memory. This sets us apart from traditional exercise.
- Our methods can be integrated into therapy sessions.
- We encourage students and other volunteers to be involved to create an intergenerational and collaborative learning environment for everyone. Students get to practice their classroom skills and learn to modify movement with real people and learn to create therapeutic relationships.
- We are open source. Though we are a brand, we freely share our curriculum with others and encourage creation of fun ways to get people moving.
- Our trainees stay in community with us, and we help them get started with courses or integrate the curriculum into their therapy practices.
- A dynamic and living curriculum; grows organically each month because of the ideas of our dancers, volunteers, instructors, and others in our community.
What makes BB4B different than group exercise, balance classes, dance classes, or therapy?
We Motivate, Educate, and Collaborate!
How it Started
About a decade ago, I was working as a physical therapist in a nursing facility, walking sideways, forward, backward with a person; it was boring for both of us!
I thought, “Yes, this movement is proven to help, but we’re basically dancing; if only I had music…”
I imagined if therapy could be dancing and other fun things. The idea wouldn’t go away, even though I thought I didn’t have the ability to do it…
Thinking it would be a fun one-time thing to do, I invited colleagues and physical and occupational therapy students to join me. We approached our local senior center here in Madison, Wisconsin…
…and here we are today, with dozens of classes, over nine years! We’ve shown up in Waukesha, Lacrosse, Greenfield, Monona, Middleton, FItchburg, and are now reaching into other states with a rich and growing curriculum.
–Susan Frikken, Co-creator and innovator of BB4B
Rehab student, dancer and new instructor Susan says of our curriculum training, “There was an age dynamic that I did not expect. I learned from attendees of various generations and lifestyles. I liked the variety of unexpected cultures. I kept an open mind and I learned things I would not have imagined learning by being here. I like that.”
Older adults in the community are the primary attendees, and all people are welcome. We have had people from their 40s through their 90s, those who move confidently and those who depend on canes or walkers, and at times the partners and caregivers of participants.
People love the class, tell their friends, and return over and over. They tell us how it has helped them. We’ve trained over 40 people in the curriculum, including people from other states and from all around Wisconsin, with many going on to become full-fledged BB4B instructors.
Speaking & Dancing Engagements:
We have been invited to be a speaker for Badger Talks, the speakers’ bureau of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and have done both virtual and in-person events. Additionally, we’ve been covered by local TV stations, publications, and presented at state physical therapy conferences.