The mini keyboard that I keep in my mother’s apartment has 10 melodies programmed into it. I never realized until I played them for her that Ode to Joy, and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, were such great songs to boogie to. Yet there we were, sitting across from each other, shaking our heads, shoulders, arms, hands, and upper bodies to these synthesized, pop versions of age-old classics. Their deceased composers, on the other hand, have probably sworn off music for eternity.

My mother gets right into and it’s fun to see her in that state. She also enjoys watching the aide or me dance: M≈ is a middle-aged Haitian woman who can really get her groove on; I, pretending to be a leaping, pirouetting ballet dancer, am about as awful as one can be. My mother, who can be a surprisingly discerning critic, couldn’t care less.