Dancing in the setting sun
performance, self-actualization and the elderly
Dancing has been identified as a significant contributor to the quality of life of elderly people, particularly in terms of mental health, physical health, and socialization. Much of the scholarship on dance and the elderly has focused on dancing as a social participatory practice, however, and less has considered the ways that dance as creative performance may be valued by elderly dancers. This study seeks to understand elderly individuals' experiences of learning, creating and performing dance, to extend discourse into how pedagogic and choreographic practices might respond to these experiences. Our research focuses on the rehearsal practices of the Grey Panthers, a dance collective in the city of Darwin in Northern Australia, which has maintained a community of practitioners for more than 30 years. Based on qualitative interviews, we reflect on dancers' experiences and motivations in relation to Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs and theory of self-actualisation.
Rowe, N. , McMicken, D. , Newth, T. (2019)., Dancing in the setting sun: performance, self-actualization and the elderly, in K. Bond (ed.), Dance and the quality of life, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 527-544.
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