Creative Aging at DX

Every few months, we'll invite you to take a closer look at Dance Exchange's work in four areas of growth and impact. This newsletter, focused on Creative Tools and Practices, introduces you to a new local initiative of our Creative Aging and Intergenerational Exchange Program.

Looking for updates on other DX events and classes? Click here.

Dance Exchange is building communities of care across generations.
Want to get involved? 

Register for our 2020 Winter Institute. 
Stay tuned for a new movement class for older adults.
Save the Date for our 2020 Takoma Park Arts performance.

Make a donation to support our work.

Meet Judith

Judith Bauer’s performance resumé includes a number of Dance Exchange projects like New Hampshire Ave: This Is a Place To…, Still Crossing: Prayer/Performance/Protest, and A Sense of Wonder. She’s a fixture on our Takoma Park MOVES and Winter Institute facilitation teams and now co-teaches a movement class for local older adults.

But what makes Judith’s dance career so unique? It began 14 years ago when Judith was 70 years old. 

"So often we older people live happy and productive lives despite the changes in our bodies. I feel that dance has allowed me to value my aging body, to truly enjoy the changes that time has wrought..."
- Judith Bauer

Since Our Beginnings

In the Dance Exchange network, however, Judith is not the only mover and maker whose creative career began later in life—or extended far beyond traditional retirement age. This is because the integration of dancemaking, creativity, and aging was woven into the fabric of our organization from its very beginning. 

In 1975, before she founded Dance Exchange, Liz Lerman discovered that in order to make the dance she wanted and needed to make about her mother’s recent death, she needed to collaborate with older dancers. In what was considered a revolutionary move at the time, Liz began to partner with the RooseveIt Hotel for Senior Citizens in Washington, D.C. (Check out what the Washington Post had to say!). Through these classes, captured on video here, Liz began to develop and hone some of Dance Exchange's creative tools and practices for working with movers of all ages. And it was there at the Roosevelt that Liz first observed that “older bodies make for great storytelling, beautiful movement, and a curious form of courage” (Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer). 

Why Creative Aging?

Since then and throughout our 43 year history, intergenerational exchange and creative aging have been at the heart of what we do. And now, these creative tools and practices are more important than ever: “For the first time,” explains creativity and aging pioneer Gay Hanna, “there are more people over 65 in the United States than under six.” A member of Dance Exchange’s new Creative Aging Advisory Board, Gay argues that while modern medicine has enabled people to live longer lives, there aren’t always opportunities for older people to maintain a sense of purpose and identity by staying engaged in meaningful activities.

DX Creative Tools & Practices:
Projects + Partnerships
in Creative Aging

That’s why Dance Exchange has launched a new local Creative Aging and Intergenerational Exchange Program. Here’s what the program looks like in action: 
  • Leading onsite classes for older adults right where they live: With support from the City of Takoma Park, we're partnering with several local residential buildings to lead classes that use movement, dancemaking, and storytelling to support physical, mental, and community wellbeing. 
  • Adding an in-studio weekly movement classes for older adults: Starting in 2020, these classes (Thursdays, 11am-12pm) will create even more opportunities in our studios for older movers. Sign up to receive more information here
  • Hosting intergenerational exchange gatherings: During our HOME event in October, we brought together an intergenerational group to build community and exchange ideas about creative aging. In 2020, there will be even more intergenerational opportunities once a month in our new Creative Aging class. Stay tuned!
  • Cultivating a Creative Aging Advisory Board: These experts and practitioners in the field of creative aging and beyond will help Dance Exchange advance our creative tools and practices—and share them with peers across the country. 

"I believe there is no age in the art of dance, because dance can be very creative, and we all have our own creativity. I think old people need to learn something different everyday, and this is a place where we hear things from you who are young people. We have some exchange between young and the old, and I think that's a good idea." - Creative Aging Program Participant

Get Involved

In January, the 30+ movers and makers participating in our 2020 Winter Institute will learn from and contribute to our Creative Aging and Intergenerational Exchange Program. Dance Exchange artists will share creative tools and practices with the goal of inspiring and preparing Institute participants to catalyze intergenerational moving and making in their own communities. It’s not too late to join us for the Winter Institute. Learn more and register here

Dance Exchange is grateful for YOUR support and the support of our donors and funders. Major support for this year's programming comes from: Maryland State Arts Council, Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The City of Takoma Park, Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts, The Elizabeth B and Arthur E Roswell Foundation, The Chesapeake Bay Trust, The Greater Washington Community Foundation, and the Takoma Foundation. 

Photos in this e-blast by: Ben Carver, Dennis Deloria, and others
Copyright © 2019, Dance Exchange, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
7117 Maple Avenue
Takoma Park, MD, 20912

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