Joan Green

Joan Green
Cambridge, MA
Adult Day Care, After School Program, Assisted Living, College/University, Arts/Cultural Organizations, Community Center, Independent Living, K-12 Schools, Library, Rehabilitation Center, Senior Center

I am the former Director and choreographer of Back Pocket Dancers, an inter-generational ensemble, including several elder dancers, that performs at elder venues, schools, conferences, etc. In this capacity, and as co-director of Back Porch Dance Company (1990-2001) I have taught hundreds of dance workshops for elders. In 2013, I was chosen to teach an extended intensive dance program at Grove Hall Library, Boston, as part of the Creative Aging Libraries Project. For that project, I created a dance with the participants that was rooted in their memories of their grandmothers. I have received many choreography commissions: Fashionless Dances November 2012 at the Dance Complex; first annual Across the Ages Dance Project, June 2011; Dance in the Fells, Gold Star award winning site-specific dance festival, October 2010, Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School Dance Company, fall 2008; Dance Complex,1999, First Night 1995/96. In 1997, I received a grant to work with eight local elders to create a song and dance show about elder health empowerment, through Somerbridge Community Health, which we performed at seven local venues and on local cable TV. I have also extensive experience being a dance teaching artist with children from pre-school through high school.

Teaching dance to elders is a marvelous vehicle for bringing joy into life, for fighting isolation, for improving health, vitality and balance, for expanding creativity, for practicing life review, for building community and individual connections and for sharing laughter. My approach welcomes folks at every level of mobility and uses multi-cultural music. A very diverse array of dance activities includes references to social dances, ballet, folk dance, choreography, and creating movement with the participants from their answers to questions designed to explore their identity, history and passions. I learned much from working with Liz Lerman and the Dance Exchange; I've also explored inventing and adapting dance activities from my training in diverse dance forms to make them relevant and appropriate for elder populations over a period of 25 years. I love involving elders in an intense choreographic process; this lets me watch their creative explosions and the life-changing effect of this work. I create an atmosphere of acceptance and safety in my classes, which allows older adults to dance with freedom. I am a loving teacher of older adults, and that love is returned.