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.


This project focuses on the power of communal dance and music for ex-evangelicals and former fundamentalists to build friendships and support individual and collective healing. Loneliness, identity confusion and difficulty assimilating into society and other symptoms that mimic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of disruptions in social and family networks are common among people leaving evangelical and fundamental religious communities. Dance is a powerful medium to address religious trauma by helping develop connection to one’s body, gaining physical autonomy and connecting to one’s emotions and experiences. The program will include online forums, research and the development of a movement model and methodology.

Photo Credit: Joy Havens by Alexis Silver.