Joy Havens is a New York artist working in dance, costume and opera. She is deeply engaged in examinations of the deconstruction and reconstruction of beliefs, cultures and ideas and how they manifest  in the body. She has worked with Renegade Performance Group, Pappas and Dancers, Miro Dance Theatre, Preeti Vasudevan, Mary Prescott, Metropolitan Opera, Bard SummerScape and the New York Baroque Dance Company among others. Joy’s current artistic investigations explore the idea of Beauty as a spiritual practice. She attended The Ohio State University receiving the Special Projects Fund for Exceptional Creativity and supported with a residency through Indy Convergence.

In Liberated Company

In Liberated Company, formed in 2020, is a creative duo considering our religious and spiritual pasts with an eye towards a liberated future. We utilize dance and storytelling to build community for individual and collective healing for those recovering from religious trauma (RT). The prime objectives of In Liberated Company include connecting ex-evangelicals and other former fundamentalists to one another through a communal dance community and using somatic dance practice as a tool for understanding how religious and spiritual harm can interrupt one’s relationship to self and the body. The work is informed by the research of psychologists studying religious trauma, embodiment practices, the stories of survivors of RT and our own creative movement practices.

We are currently developing an online workshop model to launch this spring with the input and support of Reclamation Collective in Minneapolis, MN which consists of trauma-informed counselors, community leaders, and activists. Additional components of our project include: identifying and building relationships with artists critically engaging with religion, a weekly religious trauma discussion group, and connecting with activists and organizers working on religious influence in society.

Photo Credit: Joy Havens by Alexis Silver.

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