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In a medium often focused on the young and upcoming, MJDC is particularly aware of the disappearance of voices from women over 60. Encounters Over 60 seeks to support the visibility of elder dance artists still active in their craft, and encourages conversations and learnings across generations.

2023 Events


Sara Rudner: Open Studio

March 4 – Open Studio 1:00pm–3:00pm followed by Q&A

City Dance Studios – 60 Brady Street, SF

An informal open studio of Sara Rudner’s Studio Time workshop. Observers are free to come and go from 1pm to 3pm, as the workshop participants explore improvisations, base material, and deconstructions that have manifested during their two-week long workshop. The open studio will be followed by a Q&A with the artist and workshop participants about the process and discoveries made.


A Lively Conversation with Elder Dance Makers About Their Practices

March 166:30pm

Joe Goode Annex – 401 Alabama Street, SF

Join the Encounters Over 60 artists Anne Bluethenthal, Joanna Haigood, Alleluia Panis, Sara Rudner, and Deborah Vaughan – with moderator Margaret Jenkins – as they have an exchange about the subtleties, intricacies, and satisfactions of working as an artist over sixty.


Anne Bluethenthal, Joanna Haigood, & Deborah Vaughan: Making Way

March 18 – 11:00am – 3:00pm

Golden Gate Park – San Francisco

With 4-5 decades each of investigating life through performance, these three women have spent the past year delving into each one’s life work – interrogating values, loves, obstacles, and visions. This workshop will use the context of their collective experience to look towards the present and future: How do we make way for the current and next wave of artists? What wisdoms can we share across the generations? What does a post-colonial, post-capitalist, anti-racist arts practice look like? The workshop will include an inter-generational conversation and an experience in nature—part ceremony, part movement, part creative offering.

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Alleluia Panis: Anting Anting Project Convening

March 25 – 12:00pm – 4:00pm

Asian Art Museum – 200 Larkin Street, SF

In partnership with KULARTS and the Asian Art Museum's Re-History project, this convening is a response to the current ethical discourse on museums' responsibility to repatriate objects acquired through colonization, war, or theft in an effort to correct history. In this discussion and community workshop, participants will learn about museum practices and share their opinions and emotions around artworks at the Asian Art Museum. Panis will share aspects of her artistic process, including a conversation with museum staff curator Natasha Reichle and educator Deborah Clearwaters on their work together to examine and discuss the complexities of having objects of worship, ritual, and ceremonies in the museum.

About the Artists

Anne Bluethenthal

Founder of ABD Productions, a performing arts company committed to inspiring social change through the arts, Anne Bluethenthal’s choreographic language troubles the paradigm of western dance in service of choreographies that face difficult issues with eloquence and passion. After building a repertoire of original works over 3 decades, Bluethenthal initiated the Skywatchers program, rooted in the belief that relationship is the first site of social change. A multi-ethnic mixed-ability, community-based performing arts ensemble of Bay Area artists and Tenderloin residents, Skywatchers’ work emerges from the talents, wisdom, stories, and concerns that animate ensemble members’ lives. Bluethenthal’s community engaged practice also produced ANDARES, a durational collaboration with survivors of the Salvadoran civil war, contributing to the historical memory movement of that country. Among the honors Bluethenthal has received are the Guggenheim Fellowship, Artist Legacy Award from the SF Arts Commission, Award of Recognition from El Teatro Nacional de San Salvador, YBCA 100, SF Chronicle’s Best of 2001, SF Weekly’s Black Box, the SF Bay Guardian’s Goldie Award for Achievement in Dance, and the Rhinette Award for Choreography from Theatre Rhinoceros.

Joanna Haigood

Since 1979 Joanna has been creating work that uses natural, architectural, and cultural environments as points of departure for movement exploration and narrative. Her stages have included grain terminals, a clock tower, the pope’s palace, military forts, and a mile of urban neighborhood streets in the South Bronx. Her work has been commissioned by many arts institutions, including Dancing in the Streets, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Walker Arts Center, SF Exploratorium Museum, National Black Arts Festival, and Festival d'Avignon. She has also been honored with the Guggenheim Fellowship, Cal/Alpert Award in Dance, US Artist Fellowship, New York Bessie Award, and the esteemed Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. Joanna has had the privilege to mentor many extraordinary young artists internationally at the National École des Arts du Cirque in France, the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in England, Spelman College, the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University, San Francisco Circus Center, and at Zaccho Studio. Most recently, Joanna was awarded the Artistic Legacy Award by the San Francisco Arts Commission in 2020 and the Individual Artist Fellowship by the California Arts Council in 2021.

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Alleluia Panis

Alleluia Panis is a respected elder artist in the US and the Philippines and the driving force behind Kulintang Arts, Inc (KULARTS)-- the nation’s premiere presenter of contemporary and tribal Pilipino arts. She has created over twenty full-length dance theater works that have been presented on stages in the United States, Europe, and Asia. She has received numerous awards including Dance/USA Artists Fellowship, SFCA Legacy Award, Gerbode Foundation for Manong Is Deity inspired by the first wave of Pilipino worker to in the 1900’s as cheap labor US growing agricultural industry, Rainin Foundation Open Spaces for Lakbai Diwa Project a public ceremony of healing during COVID-19 pandemic, and Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions for Nursing These Wounds, a multi-sensory public work that investigates the impacts of colonization on diasporic Pilipinx health and caregiving, through the lens of Pilipinx nurses history. Her dance film She, Who Can See premiered at the 2018 CAAMFEST, formerly known as the Asian American International Film Festival. She served as a member of National Performance Network’s Artists Committee, and as a board member of API Cultural Center, Brava! For Women in the Arts, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, and Dance Bay Area.

Sara Rudner

Sara Rudner (BA Barnard College; MFA Bennington College), after six decades of taking classes (ballet w/Slavenska, Farnsworth, Thomas/Fallis, modern dance w/ Sanasardo,  post-modern dance w/ Cunningham, Brown, Ideokinesis w/Topf, Anatomy w/Dowd, Yoga, T’ai Chi); rehearsing (w/Tharp, Tharp @ Joffrey Ballet,  Pilobolus, Sara Rudner Performance Ensemble); performing (national, international, big theaters, black boxes, Central Park, turf, dunes and beaches); dance making (birthday solos, marathons, touring group choreography, collaborations w/Reitz, Baryshnikov, Janney); and teaching (adjunct Julliard, Tisch School, Barnard and Bennington Colleges; tenured Sarah Lawrence College), dabbling as choreographer/performer in opera  (Santa Fe Opera; Salzburg Festival); and performing in film (for Tharp: Amadeus, Ragtime; Dune Dance for Brown/Klosty), finds herself back where she began, dancing with friends.

Deborah Vaughan

Deborah Vaughan is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Dimensions Dance Theater (DDT), a professional dance company and school that was founded in Oakland in 1972 to promote the knowledge and appreciation of African-derived dance. Their mission is to create, perform, and teach dance that reflects the historical experiences and contemporary life of the African Diaspora through an African American lens. Under Vaughan's continuing leadership for over 50 years, DDT has become widely recognized for its presentation of both traditional African dances and contemporary choreography drawn from African, Jazz, and modern dance idioms. Deborah has received several National Endowment for the Arts awards. The diversity and inclusiveness of DDT’s repertoire is unique to the company, and has contributed greatly to its reputation for innovative dynamism. DDT has also become known for its cross-cultural and issues-oriented collaborations — bridging cultural, social justice, racial equity, and ethnic differences through the arts. She also established a youth program Rites of Passage, which brings the transformative power of the arts to youth in Bay Area communities. Deborah has received a Jefferson award, Isadora Duncan award, she is a member of the Women’s Hall of Fame for Alameda County. The company has toured throughout the U.S. and represented America in Festival of Tolerance in Germany, The Jerash Festival in Jordan, Festival de Fuego in Cuba and recently in the International Association of Blacks in Dance Festival in Canada.

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