This post first appeared in The Times of Israel.
Studio 54 is no more, but disco lives on — at least among Holocaust survivors in Brooklyn. Since January, Minnie’s Place, a unique dance club in the Canarsie neighborhood, has been hosting elderly survivors for therapy/exercise sessions set to the pulsing rhythms of ‘70s club music.
Housed at the Hebrew Educational Society on Seaview Avenue, Minnie’s Place is decked out in black lights, a disco ball and an aromatherapy diffuser, with psychedelic images projected on the walls. There are also voice-sensitive lights and a vibrating bubble column.
Beyond getting down, the elderly Jews are psychologically and spiritually benefiting from the multi-sensory space, designed in accordance with a therapeutic approach developed in the 1970s by the DeHartenburg Institute in the Netherlands. It is meant to help them deal with the grief and anxiety caused by repressed Holocaust memories.
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.