Modern Dance Company Turns Stigma on Aging into Art

Monday, February 2, 2015

CHICO, CA—Next month, Joe Goode Performance Group, a San Francisco based dance company, will collaborate with members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) during a residency at CSU, Chico, hosted by Chico Performances, the university’s presenting program.  The company will create a contemporary dance based on the stories and experiences of five OLLI members between the ages of 71 and 90, which will culminate in a workshop performance on Wednesday, March 25 at 6:30pm in Harlan Adams Theater. The process will be captured in a short, documentary video.

Chico Performances invited Goode to come to Chico State as part of their first annual Dance Chico! festival (a weeklong celebration of dance.) Joe Goode Performance Group is conducting a traveling project, Human Kind, and Chico Performances director Stephen Cummins invited Goode to collaborate at Chico State as part of that project.  OLLI was invited because of their focus on senior education, and the partnership blossomed into Chico’s Resilient Project.

Before arriving in Chico this February for a week long residency on campus, Goode’s company is working with Cummins and local OLLI Director, Ann Nikolai. With their assistance, the dance company will interview the chosen seniors whose lives have been affected by chronic illness and other life-changing events.  The title “Resilient” stems from these seniors resiliency in the face of these challenges.

From these conversations, Goode will choreograph the resilience-themed performance, which integrates speech, music, song and dance to share these stories with the audience. The piece, which will be performed on the Chico State University campus in March, revolves around speaking word-for-word from the contributors’ life experiences.

“The idea behind our work is to get down to the nitty-gritty of human beings,” said the company’s artistic director, Joe Goode. “We thought the topic of resiliency would be interesting to work with because of increasing social isolation we face as we age, as well as growing health concerns—all of which are huge life issues.”

The interviews, the rehearsals, and the performance will be documented in a 10 minute video short, in order to preserve and highlight this collaboration, for use promotionally, and to help bring awareness to the OLLI program nationally. 

Previous performances of the Human Kind project have highlighted other controversial issues relevant to towns the dance group has performed in, including the topic of military veterans coping with personal traumas experienced on the battlefield, and their struggles integrating into normal family life upon their discharge.



Daran Goodsell

Ann Nikolai