By Dr. Mary Archer

Aug 2010 Submission



Love comes to us in many sizes, shapes and forms. The love that I am speaking of is the passion in our hearts to do what we love to do, creatively.  A more concise definition is “bringing something new of value into existence” which results in bringing forth the energy that is needed for the enrichment and fulfillment of life.  The arts are the key. They create a sense of community in which each person’s contribution is respected.  In sum, the arts enhance the quality of life.


I recently had the pleasure of participating in an event that was in total agreement and shared my belief that "Creative Arts for Wellness" continues to be of vital importance to the future generation of older adults.  “Seniors Got Talent” sponsored by the North Broward Medical Center in Florida, and other Broward healthcare services, emphasized ability instead of disability, representing an evolution in attitude about what it really means to be old. 


Tap dancing in your 70’s?  Singing in your 80s? Playing the guitar at 94?  In a shift from a deficit model to an asset model - from looking at older people as medical objects to seeing all their vitality and wisdom, the audience was in total agreement that aging doesn’t mean decaying.  No matter how frail or cognitively fit, seniors do have something valuable to contribute.


Kicking off this enlightening event was Dr. Todd, an affiliate of the N. Broward Medical Center whose emphasis was on putting your brain to work.  He confidently confirmed that the current star in brain science is exercise and doing what you love to do. Dancing, singing, or anything that forces us to seek new directions, brings joy to the soul, and elevates us to a new dimension of life.  What better way to gain brainpower and a positive zest for life, than through an opportunity to express yourself creatively? 


I speak positively and in authority on behalf of this event, because I have been a teacher of the art of tap dancing for decades as a creative means of expression.  Tap dancing not only strengthens the body and challenges the mind, but its higher purpose is about lightening your heart.  Those participating, leave the tap class with a feeling of euphoria that emanates from a sense of accomplishment and a job well done.


Productive aging is about continuing to live life to the full, and no matter what age, physical or mental ability, adults can and should participate in the arts.  It is events like “Seniors Got Talent” that serves as a motivational force for those in the Winter Season of their life, by providing a way to reach the height of excellence through their gift, and to live what they love.


So, if you are trying to find something new to add to your present agenda, why not decide to choose an exercise that “clicks” and maybe someday you too will say I’ve got rhythm… I’ve got music… I’ve got tap shoes… who could ask for anything more?


Dr. Mary Archer, boasts that she’s been dancing for the past 64 years.  She started her terpsichorean career in show business in New York City where she was part of the dance team Stanford & Lynn. She spent most of her time entertaining audiences abroad and has graced the stage with such headliners as Danny Thomas, Bobby Vinton, Paul Anka, Cab Calloway, Gregory Hines, Maurice & Farther Hines, just to name a few.  She later opened the dance studio of Stanford & Lynn in Howard Beach, New York, which is well known to be the birthing place of many of the stars that are now seen on Broadway and in many area’s of the entertainment world.


Dr. Archer continued her course of teaching the art-form of tap in Charlotte, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Nassau, Bahamas, and at present, teaches a “Tap Your Troubles Away” tap program for the club members of the Boca Raton Resort, Boca Raton, Florida.  She specializes in teaching Creative Arts for Wellness and has taught this art form to those with severe schizophrenia, and cancer patients who believe that their healing was due to having an opportunity to live what they love. 


Through the many challenges of teaching tap dance through the years, Mary’s focus was fixed not only on providing the audience with a great performance through skill and technique, but by leaving them with an education of an art form that is embedded in her heart. “It is only through the spirit of love of your art form that applause rebounds, thus giving back to the performer that which is given,” says Dr. Archer. “This interaction is called performing in the spirit and it is this performance that transcends to and from all hearts.”


“It ain’t over till it’s over,” she says. 


Dr. Archer is now looking forward to her future journey, which is giving her an opportunity to communicate on an International level the importance of creative arts in the area of dance.  She is fully persuaded that the wisdom and knowledge attained through tap dance can and will bring transformation to the world and the boundaries in which we live.


For more information on Mary Archer and Creative Arts for Wellness