Creative Movement

Organization Associated with Program
Lutheran SeniorLife (Passavant Retirement Community)
401 S. Main Street
Zelienople, Pennsylvania 16063

Lutheran SeniorLife’s Creative Movement initiative was designed to support residents at the Passavant Retirement Community in Zelienople, Pennsylvania to live more abundantly by providing them with an enriching, creative outlet through movement and dance, with the goal of increasing their flexibility, creativity, and relaxation. The program is a core component of a series of offerings created to increase quality of life and overall wellness in the residents of the community. The classes meet once a month for a one-hour session during which participants explore the freedom and potential of the body and mind through movement.

All classes are conducted by a professional teaching artist skilled in working with this age group. The standard opener for the session is a “brain dance” by participants. The teaching artist then leads the participants in a dance exercise based on a particular preselected theme. Participants are next encouraged to create their own dance during the class with the guidance and support of the teaching artist. After groups of participants choreograph an original dance piece, they are asked to perform their choreography for the full class. After the performance concludes, the teaching artist engages the class in a discussion of the dance choreography process and performance. This encourages participants not only to be choreographers of dance, but also to learn skills in how to effectively critique dance. The teaching artist occasionally integrates other art forms, such as creative writing, into the dance class for additional enrichment through artistic self-expression.

Program History

In 2011, Lutheran SeniorLife launched the Creative Movement program through a partnership with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, with the aim of bringing dance classes to older adults who would not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in them. The program is conducted at the Passavant Retirement Community, which offers multiple classes and programs focusing on six elements of wellness: spiritual, educational, vocational, physical, social/recreational, and creative/expressive. The community also offers visual arts, theater, jazz, quilting, poetry, and music classes and groups.

Program Assessments and Evaluations

Lutheran SeniorLife does not currently conduct a formal evaluation of this program, although it does collect attendance numbers.

Advice for Other Organizations Conducting Similar Programs

There are many opportunities for partnerships. Explore and be open to organizations in your community.

Kinds of creative engagement/ program focus Creation of Original Work, Participate in a Class, Participate in a Workshop, Participate in an Ensemble
Arts Discipline: Dance, Music, Theater
Target Audience: Active Adults
Program Setting: Healthcare - Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)
Program Service Area: Rural, Suburban
Type of Practice: Promising Practices