Enjoy what you have…

Marlys Tobias’ article will be published in her local Lafayette, CA newspaper. Thank you Marlys for your inspiration!

Marlys Tobias

Marlys Tobias


Enjoy what you have instead of yearning for what you don’t have

by Marlys Tobias

Moments of creativity, fun, playfulness, and connection with others are mine because I do the “stuff” of InterPlay.  I have told my own stories, played to the sound of music, and made many friends because I do the “stuff” of InterPlay. I am a dancer from the womb!  It is InterPlay which brought my dancer forward with reckless abandon!  My creative person came to life with the space and freedom to tell real or made-up stories.  I came to believe in my own body wisdom and authority.

I spent a morning with two of my grandchildren at a morning of Family Play at the InterPlayce studio in Oakland.  It was thrilling to watch them interact with other children.  Julia, age 9, met a friend.  Carlton, age 3 ½, watched the first hour on his chair.  Then he ate his sandwich.  When the feathers came out he leaped off his chair and never looked back.

I do InterPlay “stuff” once a month at a day care center for adults with Alzheimer’s illness.  Doris comes to the center on Tuesdays.  The first time I led the group in a hand dance, Doris burst out laughing.  It was contagious.  Everyone made these glorious sounds of joy.  I found out later, Doris almost never speaks.  We have a connection, Doris and I.

So what is this InterPlay “stuff?” It is some of the following and MORE:

• Babbling for 30 seconds with another person.  It might be about something I saw from my window or an inspiring book I recently read.

• Moving my hand around to music (a hand dance) either by myself or with another person.

• Looking for the good in witnessing another person’s movements.

• Finding voice by making tones that either match or don’t match with a group.

• Following and/or leading another person’s or persons’ movement patterns.

• Breathing in and letting it out with a big sigh or shaking it all out!

For me this all started some 15 plus years ago with Cynthia Winton-Henry and Phil Porter, the founders of InterPlay, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.  Both Winton-Henry and Porter have been interested in how individuals and communities can regain a sense of integration and connectedness.

InterPlay is an active, creative way to unlock the wisdom of the body by allowing individuals to regain access to their stories, movement and voice.  It’s a system of forms, a set of tools and ideas to help individuals and communities thrive. And anyBODY can do it.  All you need is a little willingness.  InterPlay is easy, incremental and affirming.  It builds on strengths, rather than focusing on limitations.

“It was magical,” shared my friend Debbie following a babbling session.

“You moved so easily, so freely,” commented a trained young dancer to me.  “I’ve always been told how to move.”

InterPlay has given me an amazing community of friends. Included are a former ballet dancer, now in her 80’s and a very talented young woman in her 20’s who did the “stuff” of InterPlay recently with recovering war veterans. Also included are friends with many gifts, shapes and ages in between.

An InterPlay class is offered at the Lafayette Community Center in the Toyon Room through Senior Services. It begins on September 10, 1 to 2 pm and continues every other Thursday of each month through December. Cost: senior members, $1, non-members $3.

Marlys Tobias, MA, InterPlay leader and dancer



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