By Karen Bliss
Munni Subhani, who was commended by Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell for her work with seniors, will lead Healing Dance Sessions, two free online dance workshops for seniors, as part of York Region’s Culture Days programming (Sept. 23-Oct. 16).
The first is Sept. 27 from 10:40 – 11:15am and the second, a week later, Oct. 4, at the same time. Improve muscle strength, balance, flexibility and mental wellness, it says.
Or just have a bit of fun.
Subhani has conducted classes like this before for Markham Arts Council. During the pandemic, Subhani led weekly free Zoom healing dance sessions for the Markham Arts Council for “seniors seeking wellness.”
She is president and dancer/choreographer of the studio Therapeutic Indian Exercise, specializing in north Indian classical dance. The style of dance is called Kathak.
Subhani first learned it as a child in Bangladesh, studying under renowned dancer, composer and singer Birju Maharaj (who died earlier this year), and went on to perform for foreign dignitaries and at international festivals. She moved to Toronto in the 70s.
Her healing dance or dance as rehabilitation is based on movements utilized in Kathak. She has students of all ages, abilities, and ethnicities, and has helped people with various conditions from asthma to weight struggles, as well as ailments that come from old age.
Of her students, she once told the Toronto Star: “As long as they feel the movement, the music and the magic, it works. I’m not trying to physically heal their wounds or be a substitute for medication, but to provide a fun, healthy and appealing alternate which is a musical mingling of the body, mind and soul.”
Her bio says, “she has found that dance benefits not only the body but the soul as well, boosting self-esteem, promoting emotional well-being and fostering cultural connections.”
Karen Bliss is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Billboard, Rolling Stone, Pollstar and others. She has interviewed thousands of musicians, including Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, Eminem, Shania Twain, Metallica and Michael Bublé.