Creative Aging Directory - Anyone Can Dance

Program Title
Anyone Can Dance
Program Summary

ANYONE CAN DANCE is an adaptive movement program in the greater Philadelphia area for seniors and those with movement disorders and physical restrictions, founded in 2012. We conduct community classes, engage audiences in unconventional performances, and also train trainers from geriatric or rehabilitation facilities.

Classes start in a chair, move to a support (back of the chair or ballet barre) and then for those who are able, moving across the floor. Every dance form from ballet, modern, tap, and Flamenco to tango, Bollywood and folk are explored, as well as improvisation and work with props like scarves, tambourines, hats, and canes. Music is the driving force--everything from big band to Motown and from Bach to Randy Newman.

The benefits of the program include:
1. Better breathing
2 Increased self-confidence.
3. Improved coordination—not only of hands and feet but mind and body.
4. A sense of rhythm, which you need for simple things like crossing the street and getting on an escalator.
5. An opportunity to move with others.
6. Singing and dancing at the same time improves coordination and accentuates rhythm.
6. Fitness without crunches!

Since its inception, ANYONE CAN DANCE has brought joy to approximately 200 dancers in dance studios, senior centers, independent and assisted living facilities, and YMCAs.

Program Background and History

Judith Sachs, a former professional actor and dancer, was trained in the internationally renowned Dance for Parkinsons program in 2011 after her first hip replacement. As she worked her body back to its natural moving state, she wanted to offer the same possibilities to others. She was certified as a SilverSneakers facilitator and saw the need for a different type of program that would encourage and inspire dancers in wheelchairs and walkers or those who hadn't really moved in decades. She was particularly interested in moving her dancers to perform, complete with costumes, lighting and enthusiastic audiences. ANYONE CAN DANCE really came into its own after her second hip replacement in 2014, when she started working with physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, nurse practitioners and others who needed a new look at engaging their communities in ongoing movement programs.

Program-Specific Research and Key Findings
Program-Specific Assessment and Evaluation

Program will be evaluated in the Fall by attendance numbers and interviews.  

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Arts Discipline
Kinds of Creative Engagement/Program Focus
Creation of Original Work, Presenting a Performance, Participate in a Class, Participate in a Workshop, Take Private Lessons
Kinds of Creative Engagement/Program Focus Other
Interdisciplinary Connections
Education, Health / Medicine
Creative engagement
Target Audience
Active Adults, Caregivers - Family, Caregivers - Professional, Frail Older Adults, Intergenerational, People with Alzheimer's Disease / Dementia
Adaptive Program Design
Mobility Disabilities, Cognitive Disabilities, Intellectual Disabilities, Psychiatric Disabilities
Adaptive Program Design Other
Program Setting
Aging Organization (e.g. Senior Center), Arts Organization, Assisted Living, Community Center, Education (e.g. School / University), Healthcare - Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), Sports, Recreation or Health Club (e.g. YMCA/YWCA)
Program Service Area / Geography
Suburban, Urban
Program Service Area / Geography Other