Joan Hantman began classical dance at the age of three and was performing "on pointe" on stage in downtown Boston by the age of eight. She was introduced to Israeli dance at Brandeis University, and thus began the start of a lasting relationship. She has studied with most of the major choreographers and has been teaching and performing Israeli dance ever since.
Within Israeli dance, Joan has danced with the performing groups Keren Shemesh, Screaming Sa'adya and the Electric Camels, Zikukim, Parparim (with whom she performed at the Mets stadium in New York), and Bustan Boston (with whom she performed in the first Karniel festival in Israel). Joan was the coordinator and an instructor of the MIT Folk Dance Club's Israeli dancing for more than a quarter century, and was on the board of Directors for the Boston Israeli Folk Dance Festival. Joan has also been on the staff of Sababa camp in New York, and now co-organizes the IFC camp in New York as well.
While dancing at MIT, Joan caught sight of International and Balkan dancing and a new passion ensued. She began attending workshops in the United States, and then attended many dance seminars in Bulgaria, Greece, Israel, Macedonia, Romania, and Turkey. She complemented Ercüment KĲlıç's teaching in the United States and has demonstrated dances with Israel Yakovee, Shlomo Maman, Avner Naim, and Moshiko. International performing groups included Collage led by Ahmet Lüleçi and the Mandala Folk Dance Ensemble as both a dancer and artistic director (with which she performed throughout the northeast and in England and Hungary). Joan has also performed vocally at the prestigious Pirin Pee and Koprivštica festivals in Bulgaria. She currently sings with the Balkan band Veselba and with the Bulgarian chorus Superdevoijše.
In her spare dance time, Joan can also be seen doing swing, salsa and clogging dance, or appearing as background in various movies and Internet or television shows. In real life, Joan works as a nurse at UCLA's Santa Monica Hospital.
Dances Joan has taught include Azeri Dances, Debka Gid, Debka Liel, Dedo Mili Dedo, Dobra Nevesto, Dvešti Trišti, Chiyuchim Baboker, Cosşkun Çoruh, Kako Kostadino, Karaj Majčo, Katonti, Lev Patuach, Mazalot, Megdansko, Ne felj Lanyom, Sa, Sabrali Sa Se Sabrali, Sej Sej Bob, Sitno Vlaško, Valle Nuseve, Yoh Yoh, and Zafeh.