Quicksilver Dancers

Glenna Batson

Glenna has danced most of her life, more as an avocation than a vocation. Born in Washington, DC into a dancing family, Glenna charted a different path in art and science, traveling widely and drawing from multiple sources as catalysts for teaching, research, advocacy, and artistic growth. Glenna found her way to Quicksilver in 2023 after moving back to the DC area by bridging a 35-year gap in her friendship with Nancy Havlik. A Professor Emeritus of Physical Therapy (Winston-Salem State University), Glenna has conducted clinical research on dance improvisation and Parkinson’s, elderly balance and the Alexander Technique, and mental imagery post-stroke. She has authored scholarly articles and books on dance and currently teaches for the Dance Program at Peabody Institute/Johns Hopkins University. Glenna is also an avid ballroom dancer.

I’m a woman who is dancing while aging and plan my last bloom to be the brightest.

Judith Bauer

After a lifetime of watching dance, Judith Bauer began taking dance lessons at age 71 to help with health issues. She is now a performer and choreographer who enjoys facilitating classes, especially for multigenerational groups. Judith joined Quicksilver in 2010, at the urging of fellow Quicksilver members Dorothy Levy, with whom she had danced in other settings, and then-Musical Director Anthony Hyatt. Judith earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Queens College, City University of New York, did graduate studies at Columbia University and The New School for Social Research, and obtained a Certification as a Certified Health Consultant from Perdue University. In her professional life she was an economist and later a consultant teaching business writing and presentation skills.

I love being part of Quicksilver because I experience a community that nourishes the gifts of each dancer and is excited about bringing joy to other seniors.”

Judi Berland

Judi has taken modern dance classes for about 15 years, starting at Dance Project with Jan Van Dyke and Carla Perlo. When Carla opened Dance Place, Judi took classes there under a traineeship program while working as a house manager. In 2018, she joined Quicksilver and finds that working with the group not only inspires her but also gives her a true sense of a supportive community. Judi has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Queens College, City University of New York, a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, and advanced studies in Jewish Education from The George Washington University. She worked as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor for people with disabilities and as a Placement Coordinator at Children’s Hospital working with teens living with HIV and AIDS. Currently she is the training coordinator for Hands On, a program that places persons with disabilities in Hyatt Hotels, substitute teaches at Hebrew Schools, and tutors children from a Syrian refugee family.

I feel so much joy when we dance with the seniors in the nursing homes and day programs.”

Susan Coco

Sue Coco grew up in New Orleans, where she discovered her love of dance in Miss Bobbi’s ballet class at the rec center. After moving to Washington in 1977, she became a member of the St. Mark’s Dance Company and ecstatically donned her first pair of toe shoes at the age of 37. She was introduced to Quicksilver by her friend and fellow member Margaret Easter, and joined the energetic, caring group promptly upon her retirement in 2015. Sue holds a Bachelor’s Degree in French from the former University of Southwestern Louisiana and spent most of her career in forms design and records management. Sue also sings in her church choir and volunteers at the Harriet Tubman Elementary School kindergarten.

I can’t wait to reunite with the fragile older adults I know share my desire to express themselves by dancing to their hearts’ content.”

Abby Crowley

Abby Crowley studied ballet and Afro-Cuban dance beginning in college. She is a founding member of the Chalice Dancers, a sacred dance group for more than 25 years at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church under the direction of Sharon Werth. Abby has participated in Dance Exchange events, including the Move On class, Winter and Summer Institutes, and the Still Crossing performance at the Kennedy Center.  She joined Quicksilver in 2021. Abby holds a Doctorate in Education Administration from the Catholic University of America. A lifelong educator, she has been a teacher, principal, director of professional development, school board member, adjunct professor, and organizational development consultant. In 2018-2019, Abby served in the Peace Corps in the Philippines, training faculty at Cagayan State University in modern pedagogy.

I’m excited about this opportunity to collaborate with others to create and share dance.”

Michael Davis

Michael Davis has danced social tango since 2005, sometimes going so far as to help teach it and give demonstrations. He also has danced with Jane Franklin Dance as a family member and rank amateur. Michael joined Quicksilver in 2021. He is an amateur classical guitarist, performing regularly at poetry readings, parties, and the nursing home where his father lived for many years. To Michael, memory is not a function just of mind but resides and is expressed throughout the body. He has Bachelor of Arts in English from Kenyon College and was a news copy editor and writer for 40 years. A published poet, Michael has led poetry workshops in elementary schools in the Washington, D.C. area.

Music and motion are two arts that draw memory to the surface.”

Gretchen Dunn

Gretchen Dunn took up dance in retirement, joining Quicksilver in 1998. She found her calling in contact improvisation, a partner dance form based on the physical principles of touch, momentum, shared weight, and a shared point of contact. She worked with Helen Rea and others, and studied Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals at the Laban Institute of Movement Studies, becoming a Certified Movement Analyst in 2006. When she moved to Maryland from Manhattan in 1987, she organized her new community recycling program—fulfilling the dream of her three-year-old self who wanted to be a garbage collector. Gretchen merged her dual passions for dance and the environment when she co-founded the Global Water Dances in 2010. Gretchen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Stanford University and a Master’s in Occupational Therapy from New York University. She worked as a psychiatric occupational therapist in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Prince George’s County.

I love being part of a consistent group of women, with all our marvelous idiosyncrasies and abilities.”

Margaret Easter

Margaret Easter took an interpretive dance class as a young child and then not again until 2009 when she attended a workshop at Dance Exchange. An assignment to create a dance based on an experience in her own life hooked her by revealing the possibility of expressing emotions through dance. Margaret feels fortunate to have found Quicksilver, which she joined in 2009. She enjoys sharing movement activities with those in day care settings, bringing joy to the participants as well as to herself. Margaret holds a Bachelor of Science and Master’s Degree in Nursing. A certified nurse practitioner and homeopath, she’s worked in public health, managed AIDS research protocols at the National Institutes of Health, administered federal substance abuse programs, provided care in a feminist women’s health center, and offered therapeutic touch and homeopathic care as a nurse practitioner in private practice.

For a time, my own partner, who has dementia, was enrolled in one of those day programs and so enthusiastically danced with us that it knocked our socks off!”

Roberta Geier

Roberta Geier has loved dance and movement since childhood, when she studied ballet, tap, and acrobatics. She developed an interest in improv attending Playback Theater. She discovered InterPlay in 2006: its philosophy, based on creative arts, includes movement, storytelling, singing, and reflection to create on the spot in an easy improvisational way. She trained to be a leader and continues in the community.  In 2016 Roberta joined Quicksilver and participates in activities with seniors.
She also attends Winter and Summer Dance Institutes at Dance Exchange, and Untensives and Workshops at InterPlay. Roberta earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Queens College, City University of New York and a Master of Library Science from the University of Maryland.  She worked as a Reference Librarian at the National Gallery of Art and as a Technical Information Specialist at the Library of the National Museum of American Art and National Portrait Gallery.

I love the opportunity to dance with seniors and see their spirits lighten.”

Kathy Hankins

Kathy Hankins started her dance training at six when her mother introduced her to ballet. Creative movement has been a part of her life ever since: she studied modern dance in college but focused on music and literature, receiving a BA in Literature from Fisk University and an MA in Literature with a focus on creative writing from the University of Maryland. Most of her dance career has been in theatre when the actor is required to move. Kathy joined Quicksilver in 2023. She is certified to teach yoga and meditation and has studied the mindfulness of words, sound, and movement for 40 years. She teaches seniors how to live with greater happiness, as in her workshop “Don’t Buy into Being Old” and “Yogadance for Older Bodies.”

“Quicksilver is a welcoming community that makes it awesome to continue what I have loved to do all my life.”

Dorothy Levy

By age four, Dorothy Levy would put a record on the Victrola and dance all over the house, so her mother enrolled her in ballet classes. She studied at The Washington School of Ballet with founders Mary Day and Lisa Gardiner, who terrified her with the stick they would wield to keep time, but gave her the chance to leap, which she loved. In high school she discovered modern dance with an early Graham technique instructor, but did not dance again until after the birth of her fourth child. She took a class at a recreation center in Kensington with Seda Gelenian, with whose company, “The Dance Invention,” she performed at public schools. Once back in dance, Dorothy did not let go. She took classes at Dance Place and at Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, eventually becoming an Adjunct Artist, performing and touring with Lerman’s company. Dorothy also studied improvisational dance with Beth Davis at Glen Echo. She joined Quicksilver in 1999. Dorothy earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Art at Duke University and studied visual art in Paris, New York, and the Corcoran School in D.C., where she has exhibited paintings, engravings, and sculpture.

To live is to dance—that’s when I feel fully alive, it’s as necessary to me as food.

Jenean McKay

Jenean McKay did square dancing as a kid and later, social dancing—she just liked the way it made her feel. In college she took modern dance at Lewis & Clark College. She joined Quicksilver in 1998 after she retired because she knew it would give her the creative outlet she needed. Jenean finds dancing with older people in nursing homes and community centers very rewarding and meaningful, as well as fun. She has a Master’s in Education from Oregon State University and worked as an educator.

Quicksilver gives us all an opportunity to express ourselves creatively, while we are also getting exercise.

Mary Lou Melley

Mary Lou Melley’s improvisational dance experience began at age eight, with enrollment in modern dance classes at the Hartford (Connecticut) School of Music, later part of the University of Hartford. Director Truda Kaschmann was her instructor for many years, and Mary Lou performed with Truda’s modern dance group. Mary Lou was a member of Orchesis, the modern dance group at the University of Connecticut, and pursued modern dance classes in northern Virginia, including those sponsored by Fairfax County, under the direction of Sally Moravitz. Upon retiring, Mary Lou took dance and improvisation classes at Glen Echo Park for many years and joined Quicksilver in 2020. She holds a graduate degree in Mathematics from Trinity College in Hartford and was employed at the Environmental Protection Agency.

My goal is to always be an instrument of dance, as Christopher Morgan has said: “When I dance, I feel the most free, the most myself, and I can say things in movement that words fall short of.”

Naomi Morse

Naomi Morse has been dancing with improvisational groups since her 20s. The native New Yorker danced with Gertrude Knight in California, and Beth Davis and Annetta Dexter Sawyer at Glen Echo in Maryland. She joined Quicksilver in 2017 and is grateful for this creative group. Naomi earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Vassar College and a Master’s in Library Science from the University of Maryland. She served as the Head of Children’s Departments at Montgomery County Public Libraries and the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School for 27 years. She has also been painting and writing her whole adult life.

“Bringing dance and music into the lives of elders makes me feel useful.

Peg Schaefer

Peg was able to pursue her passion for dance after she retired from a 27-year career as a Montessori teacher. She began performing with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. Peg now performs with Jane Franklin’s 40+ program, which offers performance opportunities for anyone over the age of 40 who wants to dance. She is also a member of Helping Hearts through the Arts, a nonprofit founded by Sue Skaddan. This group performs choreographed pieces in senior centers and retirement communities. Peg regularly attends ballet class at Ballet Nova, Falls Church, Va.  She joined Quicksilver in 2010 and loves the structured freedom of improvisation. Peg has a Bachelor of Arts in Art Education and Certification from the American Montessori Society.

I am so grateful to Nancy Havlik and the Quicksilver dancers for their inspiration love and support.

Wendy Shay

Wendy Shay was six when she started taking modern dance, ultimately dancing and performing with Washington, D.C.-based teacher Batya Heller. She stopped dancing in college but found her way back to the dance studio at the age of 58. She now enjoys taking both modern and improvisational dance classes. Wendy joined Quicksilver in 2018. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Folklore from Indiana University and an Master of Arts in American Folk Culture and History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Programs of the State University College of New York, Oneonta, Wendy had a 38-year career as an audiovisual archivist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History and National Museum of Natural History.

“I am delighted and honored to be a member of this amazing group of senior dancers who are models of aging at its best.”

Betty G. Shuford

Betty G. Shuford, born and raised in Texas, has loved dance since childhood when she and her brothers took ballet, tap, and acrobatics at a local dance studio.  It was only in college she found her true mode of creative expression: modern dance.  Inspired by a college dance course, she took a summer-long dance intensive at Colorado College with Hanya Holm and another at Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts with Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis. Then off to New York with fellow dancer Larry Crow for more dance study, performance opportunities, and marriage. In retirement, Betty took dance aerobics at the YMCA and participated in Jane Franklin Dance before joining Quicksilver in 2007.  Betty earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in English from North Texas State University. She served in the Peace Corps in Ghana, West Africa, and worked at Strayer University in Washington, D.C. for 25 years, ultimately serving as Dean of Students.

“The free and full body expression of modern dance has always given me what a true Texan wants—wide open spaces and unfettered independence.”