Ruth Bauer Neustadter in performance with "Elderclass"

Moving Time

Organization Associated with Program
Center for Modern Dance Education
84 Euclid Ave.
Hackensack, New Jersey 07601

The Moving Time program of the Center for Modern Dance Education (CMDE) offers the Hackensack, New Jersey community creative dance activities designed for older bodies with curious minds. All CMDE classes are led by a professional teaching artist, and most programs are conducted for one hour a week from September through June. There is a performance, which can be either formal or informal, at the end of each session to give the participants the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned over the course of the year. Center for Modern Dance Education also offers the community shorter sessions at offsite locations. Moving Time serves approximately 100 older adults each year.

The mission of the CMDE is to promote modern dance in partnership with the community and make it available to everyone. It seeks, through quality dance programs, to nurture and instill confidence and self-acceptance in each student, regardless of physical or financial ability and including individuals living with developmental disabilities, youth at risk, older adults, and economically disadvantaged and underserved populations. CMDE also works to preserve the legacy of modern dance and nurture its future.

Program History

Part of the Center for Modern Dance Education’s core mission is to provide dance opportunities for everyone. Moving Time helps the organization fulfill that goal by providing dance opportunities to the older population. CMDE has been serving older adults for decades, and its first program designed specifically for older people was formalized in 2000.

Co-founded in 1962 by Shirley and Earl Ubell in collaboration with members of the community, the Center for Modern Dance Education is a non-profit community arts organization. It is currently led by Elissa Machlin-Lockwood, Artistic Director, whose career spans three decades and was launched at CMDE in early childhood.

Program Assessments and Evaluations

Evaluations are conducted on an ongoing basis throughout the duration of the program by staff and occasionally by partner organizations. Programs are evaluated through the use of attendance numbers, informal interviews, and individual assessments when funding allows.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs

Strive to have multigenerational dancers—it is important for younger dancers to see older dancers and to encourage diversity.

Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Creation of Original Work, Presenting a Performance, Attending a Performance, Participate in a Class, Participate in a Workshop, Watch a Lecture/Demonstration
Arts Discipline: Dance
Interdisciplinary Connections: Education, Health / Medicine
Target Audience: Active Adults, Frail Older Adults
Program Setting: Arts Organization, Assisted Living, Community Center, Social Service Agency
Program Service Area: Suburban, Urban
Type of Practice: Field Tested Best Practice