Japan-Malaysia Collaborative Project for Dementia

“Totsu-totsu Dance ~like art, like care”

Introductory Talk Session

Open to public to create awareness on the role of creative arts in dementia care.

The Japan-Malaysia collaborative project “Totsu-totsu Dance ~like art, like care” will be held from 2022 between Malaysia and Japan, crossing physical expressions (dance and music) and dementia care.
In this project, Japanese dancer/choreographer Osamu Jareo and sound artist/researcher Kamal Sabran, who has been researching the possibility of music therapy for dementia in Malaysia, will work with people with dementia, care partners, and their families living in Malaysia to create a performance work with dance and music.

As an introduction to the project, a webinar will be held on August 14 for the public, especially care partners of dementia, Malaysians living with dementia as well as those who are involved with people living with dementia.

During this session, we will be sharing the overview of this exciting project which aims to have a performance to be held this December in Malaysia. Other topics concerning the differences surrounding dementia in Japan and Malaysia will also be shared.


Introductory Talk SessionDate: Sunday, 14 August, 2022
Time: 4pm-5:30pm (Malaysian Time) / 5pm-6:30pm (Japan Time)Venue: Zoom (No prior reservation required)
ID: 818 4681 9590  Passcode: 682475Language: English and Japanese (with Japanese to English interpretation)
Participants: People who are interested in dementia care, care partners etc.
Participation Fee: Free

Dr. Kamal Sabran (Sound Artist-Researcher, School of The Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia)
Dr. Cecilia Chan (Gerontologist, Dementia Advocate and Activist)
Osamu Jareo (Dancer, Choreographer)
Takeshi Toyohira (Coordinator / Director of torindo, a general association)


Organized by: Agency for Culture and General Association (Japan), torindo

In cooperation with:
School of The Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia
C&S Associates Aged Care Consultancy and Training Malaysia
Ipoh International Art Festival
Special Nursing Home for the Elderly, Graceville Maizuru
The Japan Foundation, Kuala Lumpur

<What is Totsu-totsu Dance?>
Since 2009, the previous project “Totsu-totsu Dance” in Japan has brought together dance workshops and dance performances by Osamu Jareo and elderly residents of Graceville Maizuru, a special nursing home for the elderly in Kyoto Prefecture, as well as the facility staffs and local community members. In Japan, it is also attracting attention as a new potential approach to dementia care.
The word “Totsu-totsu” is named after the Japanese words meaning “faltering” and “unsophisticated”, evoking the image of “slowly, wavering and hesitating”. This project is not a “dance” that seeks perfection of sophisticated physical expression, but rather an experimental project of day-to-day bodily communication.

<Comments from the Speakers>

“Music and dance is effective in stimulating social interaction, enhancing mood, and self-expression among dementia patients. These activities stimulate the brain with sense of hearing, sight, sound, and touch among patients. The power of arts is a cost-effective way as well to help overcome the burden of dementia in the general population and care homes globally.”
By Dr. Kamal Sabran

“I hope that in some way I will contribute to altering the contours of public discourse, to look beyond dementia and see the person. I think not.
When I bring embodied presence, compassion, beginner’s mind, and non-attachment to outcome through the medium of dance to a person with dementia, I discover my own humanity as well as the humanity of the other. And frequently I find joy.
Earn the skills to engage, inspire and uplift older adults and people with dementia through dance and expressive movement. We will look at the symptoms and the strengths of people with dementia and how we can best support them. Through theoretical and practical applications, considerations of essential elements and challenges, I will teach you how to customize your groups to motivate even heterogeneous groups of older adults to express themselves so that each feels seen, heard, and appreciated for who they are. We will learn how to “be with” and how to give language to what we are doing.
It is estimated that whilst 80% of residents in care homes have dementia, only 5% of them, have access to art and music.”

— International Longevity Centre UK

In Malaysia, dementia has been “hidden in the shadows” and continues to be one of the most misunderstood and stigmatized health conditions. Our dementia story as we have been telling is so often a fear laden concept and the picture the media paints of dementia is grim. Coping with dementia, as with any chronic condition, is challenging for sure. But is it the soul-robbing experience often portrayed? As we all are aware of, as dementia progresses, the People living with dementia will lose the ability to communicate, comprehend as their brain fails…. but in dementia care, it is imperative to focus on the skills that is retained, instead of what is lost. As we see a decline in formal language skills in both understanding language as well as initiation of language, rhythm is usually preserved. We see that the solutions lie in enabling the people around them to make adaptations to the ways in which they communicate and to include the people with dementia as fellow human beings in the social world. It in this light that we are introducing this project which is a collaboration between Japan and Malaysia.

The creative arts often allow moments of connection, and often beyond language. The goal is to spend quality time with people living with dementia and their carer partners, and the creative arts often facilitate this, in a low key, gentle way. “
By Dr. Cecilia Chan

For more information on the project, please click here.
The Japan-Malaysia collaborative project “Totsu-totsu Dance, like art, like care” project page

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