Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Exploring Multi-Dimensional Dance Moves at USF Disability Forum

This 2 minute video clip is from the University of South Florida's Annual Disability Forum.  Merry Lynn explains a multi-dimensional perspective to movement and disability awareness.  The three dimensions are somewhat based on Laban's categories of movement studies.  The dance is portrayed symbolically to represent that until we realize each other, we cannot have a full life.  Becoming fully aware is necessary in helping others. or
This Annual Disability Awareness Forum was from last fall 2009.  This year the event will be held at USF's Marshall Center Ballroom on Tuesday, October 12, 2010.  The keynote speaker will be a decorated, disabled Iraq Veteran - L.Tammy Duckworth - who was appointed by President Obama as Assistant Secretary for Public & Inter-Government Affairs for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.  She lost both legs and part of an arm when a rocket grenade hit her Black Hawk she was co-piloting.  Merry Lynn will present another mixed-ability dance presentation she choreographed for REVolutions Dance Company dancers. It looks like another inspiring event......Praise God! Everyone is welcome.  Hope to see you there just before noon. It will have more camera coverage this year.
Love His Sonshine

Monday, September 27, 2010

Florida Mental Health Institute Hosts Dance Chair Exhibition

Each year, the Florida Mental Health Institute hosts a "Fall Artist Reception". They spotlighted the Rolling Dance Chair Project exhibiting, performing, and demonstrating several innovative mobility devices - from Segways, rolling chairs, dance chairs, etc.. Merry Lynn Morris (USF Professor College of The Arts) with Dwayne Scheuneman (REVolutions Dance Company), performed with an almost magical grace and ethereal quality to their gliding multi-dimensional dance pieces and demonstrations. Dwayne (who suffers a C-7 spinal cord injury from a diving accident) utilized the dance chair with grace and inspiration to everyone. The audience was a very diverse population as the USF Collaborative for Children, Families, & Communities also sponsored this exhibition- . Audience response in questions, interaction, education, fun, and curiosity was really encouraging for our project. I am so grateful to be part of this great initiative! May God bless all! PTL! Love His Sonshine or

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Seated Art Museum Tour !

Our very first tour .... with mobility / accessibility awareness. And, we got to do this with Sandra Sroka, ADA Liaison for Hillsborough County! She ended up trying the hands-free prototype chair, also..... Thank you Sandra for your encouragement and support! We had a great afternoon with you and appreciate your efforts!

This is the second time at the USF Contemporary Art Museum. And, this time ..... the new construction had been all completed. It looked great! We will be going again in November for the Carlos Garaicoa exhibit "Making Amends".... hope to see you there! / Merry Lynn Morris

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Philip Shore Magnet School Puts Dance Moves On A Segway!

Philip Shore Elementary .... or Shore Magnet School .... sponsored with teacher Ashley Wilson (USF Dance Alumni) - a demonstration of the dance chair project. Later, 3 young students really learned a lot about balance and even some dance connective moves while on a Segway and a secretarial chair! Really cute ... ! Our thanks so much to Ashley & Philip Shore for sponsoring us ... and keeping interest, inclusion, and learning ... for our dance chair / mobility project!! or

On a "connectivity" note - A Little Historical Reference to Ybor City & Philip Shore:
While I was doing this video and now posting it... I (with my mom - His Sonshine) recalled that Philip Shore (or Shore Magnet School) is located in Ybor City - the "cultural center" and heart of all diversity in Tampa, Florida!
Virtually EVERYONE and EVERY CULTURE! is represented here .... from Greek to Swiss! And, I know this very well from my own heritage.
My Great-Grandfather Arnold along with his brother Armand Allemand (both Swiss immigrants) - came to Tampa, Florida in the late 1800's because of the "buzz" Henry M. Flagler created and Henry B. Plant with all the ongoing beautiful construction of the magnificent and grand Tampa Hotel (with the minarets - a Russian-type "fantasy" architecture at the time).
Arnold was married to Louise Zwiefel (also Swiss). Her sisters Regala and Ursula came to Tampa to visit her with all the goings on. Arnold (a jeweler and watchmaker) with Louise ran a little general store with the jewelry and watch repair shop in the back on Florida Avenue in Tampa. Arnold and Armand also worked on much of the construction going on... and eventually built their own homes with their own hands. Arnold's in Tarpon Springs (Pineapple Street - it still stands!) - and Armand's in Plant City where he married a local girl with a French background. While Louise was trying to manage everything and also raising her little son (Arnold, Jr. - my grandfather) in Tarpon Springs, Florida, her often-visiting sister Regala met and married a handsome Greek who worked the sponge docks.
Along this time came Philippe Costa an Italian immigrant from Sicily. He made his way to Tampa and opened a grocery store in 1898. His name change was to Philip Shore because it seem to translate that way. Eventually he became successful and worked with Henry B. Plant. By 1922, he was a school board member and saw to building a school in Ybor City - Philip Shore Elementary School.
The romantic ideals of these people and their accomplishments does continue.... and it is this connectivity to the past which should inspire us all - even if it is just to notice, record, and keep the continuity of it all.
As romantic as it all seemed - there were certainly the "other" sides and stories with not always the best of endings. Yet, some of the pictures are just beautiful! (Like going back in time.) It leaves us all quite a legacy to keep up with the students, children, arts, and all individuals we are privileged to be alive with in the present - and even around the world. The future is now!
Great-Grandpa Arnold made a lot of beautiful jewelry for his wife, Louise. She passed on when I was about 6 years old - (she was almost 100!). She left my mom her diamond earrings - and my sentimental mom wrote the story of the two brothers, the sisters, etc... and donated the earrings with the story to the Tampa Historical Society. She knew that Louise would really love that!
The Grand Tampa Hotel - turned into University of Tampa (with the minarets still!). And, I teach ballet and choreography there. Philip Shore (who, as a grocer in 1898, would have possibly even known Arnold and Armand) - passed on in 1929 - but leaves this wonderful school which in 1998 became Shore Magnet School for the Visual, Performing, & Communication Arts. I really enjoyed the demonstration presentation with our dance chair project and "choreographing" with the students on a Segway.
Armand passed on in Plant City and is buried there while my Grandfather (himself in his 90's) makes sure it is well-kept. Regala went to live in Athens with her Greek husband, and I have many Greek cousins from there.
Henry M. Flagler and Henry B. Plant .... left so many connections everywhere - (there are also connections to these same men on my dad's side of the family.)
In whatever way any of us realize the connections, it still remains that TODAY the NEEDS ARE REAL! I hope that we can continue in the inspiration with realization.
Merry Lynn Morris

Monday, September 20, 2010

It Is Not A Competition......

We all spend our lives in lines, in spaces, in time..... coming & going, in & out.... and waiting, and waiting. Sometimes we are hopeful for all the plans we make. Sometimes, we make no plans - we just show up & hope.

Sometimes there is a great breakthrough .... either in personal encouragement & identity.... or just that those around us are working in areas of discovery, invention, excitement..... & we get to attach in some real or vicarious way.

Sometimes .... MOST TIMES! .... none of us will ever get to have those 15 minutes of fame. But, what is truly sad about that.... ?! No one person can ever realize the impact that just one idea, one person, one prayer, one individual, one creative event or thought really has in our vast world & universe.

We are ALL connected. We are ALL needed. From the least to the most! Everyone is a part.

Personally, I love our Lord and the example of being part of the Body of Christ. If you are a little finger, to the eye, or an earlobe..... from the least to the most important (heart / brain)...... Each and every part is necessary to make the Body WHOLE!

I also love the example that it is "the least among us" .... who has the most value to God & is the GREATEST! (if one can imagine that) ....!! With that idea in mind..... how could anyone EVER COMPETE at being "The Least Among Us" ??! .... competing in humbleness & being NOT noticed?.....

So, once in awhile ... some of us (oh yeah - me, too!) fall into the world's sway ... trying to defend ourselves in such childish ways ... of "we were first!" .... or "me . .. me ... notice me! everyone!" .... or even to establish that "I didn't make THAT mistake, etc... ... I am above THAT ___________ (& fill in the blank here with whatever minutia we all tend to regard in our brief little lives....)

Thankfully, God sees the true intent, however.... & only judges us in our hearts. For so many times, I now realize as I age, that others really were acting in love (even if it were as a "survival"-type love.... ). I can see that sometimes people believe certain others are somehow a possible "threat" to their personal survival, their family, their particular niche in life..... yes, and of course a threat to their ego / identity. And, so they judge others .... by ignoring them, or by other equally unkind tactics.

We really are all connected... and each is so needed. Kindness & Encouragement.... NOT competition will bring about the beautiful grace our Lord has already accomplished. We may need to "run the good race to win it!" - but it is for ourselves we "compete" ... not "against" anyone else. In Loving our Neighbor / AND Enemy ... as ourselves... & praying they ALL be blessed ..... it would be difficult to even attempt a competition in this. It is just not a competition for anything.... in accomplishments, in talents.... the list is endless ---- For "ambition" is a strange delusion - - and a cast shadow has more substance than "ambition" has reality..

At some future date, I will re-publish on our blog my own personal testimony, my husband's he wrote, & our daughter. I really had quite a revelation from God (41 years ago!).... and I love to listen/read individual testimonies myself. For ALL men are taught by God! ... and as many individuals as there are in all of time ... are as many unique testimonies & unique lives in our Lord! It is really so not a competition! How could it be? I can never be you, nor can anyone be me.... and for all the rest .... Our Father in Heaven provides & knows the mystery of His Ways in Wisdom.... thankfully .... that is not a competition either! What a relief! Grace!

If you have a comment, testimony link, etc... you are so welcome to share. I have enjoyed reading several already! Thank you! Everyone is needed in contributing ideas & sharing in all of our lives & innovations to keep developing!

Love in our Lord,
His Sonshine

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Ins & Outs of VANS & WHEELCHAIRS

Our thanks to Sergio Scognamiglio for this great demonstration of the SUPER ARM LIFT which aids in Disability for getting in & out of a VAN with simple mechanical mobility devices.

Merry Lynn Morris interviewed & videoed this demonstration by Sergio for aid in understanding and/or even simplicity of mechanical engineering for those who may be curious & could improve. Sergio simplifies the strap closing doors of the van.... & the Super Arm Lift only takes very small space to install... utilizing electric not hydraulic.

Thank you Sergio... for all you do!!! & your wonderful family!
Love His Sonshine!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wired Science Interviews Dance Chair USF!

There are so many ways to connect.... Wired Science of PBS did a fantastic job of overview in all of disability... ultimately interviewing the ""BALLET DANCE CHAIR!" w/Merry Lynn Morris .. pretty inspirational & outcome to so many of us waiting.... sure could USE THIS NOW!!! Thank you, God that this is in anyway in the wings or performing, or in vision now! PTL! or

This video prompted the full understanding of the design patent process & interpreting Intellectual Property & Artistic Freedom & utilizing NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreements) as well confidentiality clauses. Many thanks to all those in the Arts (Dean Ron Jones) & those who understand IP Law .... for all the assistance ... our attorney friend David Henry.... & IP / Patent Law attorneys .... Bob Frijouf, Dan Frijouf & David Frijouf for being involved pro bono! It was a first for USF to have ideas generated directly & initiated solely from the College of the Arts..... a natural creativity & idea environment!

{Notes on Patent Process: Merry Lynn Morris is the initiator & on the Initial Patent.. & subsequent Design Patents for this "Dance Chair".. which she named herself initially the "Rolling Dance Chair" Project... from her experiences & vision since 2002... initiated chair interpretation in 2004 (with informal devices that only she & I  placed on her Dad's manual wheelchair without any assistance or ideas from anyone else), a formal meeting w/Engineering USF in 2005 with schematics & design drawings made solely by Merry Lynn Morris from a donated power chair, & a grant established to her as principal investigator with The Arts in 2006.... patent submitted by 2007 .... w/then 3rd group of student engineers... & then re-submitted in 2008 under revision request..... fully granted (after following & patent review... by 2010.) USF Design patent in 2009... with further patents by process submission... continuing... 2010..11..`12... It is a wonderful learning experience & journey!}

Love His Sonshine

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Art / Museum Tours in Hands-Free Chairs

We put together this video for a conference on Art & Museum accessibility for disabled ....a LEAD Conference in Minneapolis (Leadership Exchange in Arts & Disability). The patent on our chair just was fully approved. More upgrades are in the works.
This video shows a hands-free model as one could tour an art gallery, work on a computer station or otherwise utilize (disabled or not) ..... a sit-down / hands-free "work" chair which mimics human hovering & natural (weight pulling) interaction with others. The options are really as endless as our imagination.

{NOTE: The Honda video below is only as a comparative industry - one by Japanese innovation ..... they also see touring an art gallery as a possibility & example! Their engineering uses the Segway-type inner gyroscope mechanism which we originally experimented with & still do. It uses a wheel-within-a-wheel approach .... & allows for omni-direction as well the side-to-side motion we are trying to achieve for people of diverse body types and/or abilities seated rather than balancing.}
It is very coincidental that we have video on some of our Museum tours ..... on some "hands-free""chairs.... with our unique chair design.... utilizing two dancers as models for the chairs. Although I am thrilled & thank the Lord for the Honda innovation!!! PTL! to get the mobility awareness & innovation out!..... Our dancers, models, & just regular folk... are sure a lot more comfortable!! I will be sharing these videos with everyone soon.

Love in our Lord,
His Sonshine & Merry Lynn