Elixir Extracts

Saturday 13 September – Monday 15 September 2014

The Lilian Baylis Studio performance programme, Elixir Extracts, will feature older dancers and companies from across the UK and beyond; reflecting the diversity of approach and responding to the fast-growing interest in performance work for mature artists.

This section of the blog highlights participating companys’ backgrounds, gives you an insight into the processes of making their pieces and maps their experience as part of Elixir Festival.

photo: Tony Nandi
photo: Tony Nandi

Programme A, Saturday 4:30pm

The ViveKamayas from Instep Dance Company
Growing Older (Dis)Gracefully Dance
50 Moves
Striking Attitudes
Mercury Movers
Montage Theatre Arts
ENB Open Age Dancers
Lucy Boyes and Robbie Synge

Programme B, Sunday 3:30pm

Green Candle Senior Dancers
Open Age Dance
Three Score Dance Company
The Elderberries
Counterpoint Dance Company
Damn Fine Dance Company

Programme C, Sunday 7pm

D2D Dance Company
From Here to Maturity Dance Company
Sage Dance Company
Generacion del Ayer (International Guests)

(Includes pre-show dance films from 6pm)

Company of Elders, Monday 5pm

A mixed programme from the Company of Elders’ repertoire featuring guest artist Namron

Elixir Extracts: Growing Older (Dis)Gracefully

Where Past and Future are Gathered. Elmhurst School for Dance

We are delighted to be part of the Elixir Extracts Programme as part of Elixir Festival. We are a Liverpool based dance company that have been creating and performing since 1998.

Our group consists of 25 adults, all over 50, mostly over 60 and with one member, now 84 who has danced with us for the past 12 years. Some of us had never danced before joining the group, others danced in their teens and are reliving their youth, and yet others taught in the public sector of education.

It was dancing that brought us together but now it is the growing friendships that keep us together. The motivation and support that members provide has been therapeutic for us all at one time or another. Members have a common love of dance and enjoy sharing this with others. Our dancing is joyous and up-lifting; it captures both the spirit of healthy aging and that of group members, whose passion and exuberance for dance shines through their performance. Being part of Growing Older (Dis)Gracefully Company gives us all a sense of well being and achievement, probably the reason we are still going after 12 years.

Elixir Extracts: The Vivekamayas

The Vivekamayas

The ViveKamayas are a dance company of Elders that range in age from late 40s to 79 and are currently all women but not exclusively! The ViveKamayas is one of four Flagship Companies who all operate under the guidance of Artistic Director of Instep Dance Company – Jackie Mortimer. The ViveKamayas began in response to demand. An initial meeting some five years ago indicated that there was an interest from the over 40s to maintain their artistic lives and to feel fulfilled through dance.

The Vivekamayas recently secured funding for their next project via Kickstarter. This project will see the company work with younger people, bringing generations together. They plan to work with a young choreographer, costume designer and composer to create a dance work which is truly intergenerational. Instep Dance Company have dancers from the age of 2 to 80. They cross all ages, genders and come from a diverse socio economic background. The company believes there can only be benefits from bridging the generations around a common love of dance.

Over the past few months Instep Dance Company’s most senior company ‘The ViveKamayas’ have taken time to undertake research with Abi Mortimer, one of the Artistic Directors of Instep’s professional partners Lila Dance. Through action, thought, word, and song they have created their piece for the festival called “the Way She moves”.

On creating this piece Abi said ‘”It has been (and always is) a rich and inspiring process. I have been very lucky in that these group of women are happy for me to lead them to playful and experimental places and they engage with the process with equal playfulness and joy. This project has challenged me to find new modes of language to communicate with our audiences in a way that is meaningful and relevant. As a choreographer who is a couple of generations younger than these women, I listen to the dancers when exploring the content of our work and believe that their voice is the one that needs to be heard. The dancers and I have kept a regular dialogue throughout the process so that the “generational gap” between us is used positively and with empathy but it also allows us to look at ourselves with objectivity — and often with a lot of humour! Both the process and the piece is a reflection of these women’s experience, wit and relationships and I treasure being part of the experience.”

The company were delighted to find out the work had been selected to perform at Sadler’s Wells Theatre as part of the Elixir Festival, a four day festival, celebrating lifelong creativity and the contribution of older artists.

The Vivekamaya dancers share their thoughts on the process and opportunity…

“Through our dance we have shown we are not limited by our age but rather enhanced by it. We bring our life experiences to bear on our work and show that it is not necessary to conform to society’s sometimes negative stereotypes of older people”

“My childhood self did not dream of the stage at Sadler’s Wells. How amazing it would be to step into the space now, as an empowered adult, supported by this wonderful group of dancers.”