Company of Elders
Lillian Bayliss Studio
Sat 1st July 2023
“Company of Elders celebrates the impact and importance that dance can have in anyone’s life, at whatever age. The company was there at the very beginning of our community engagement work at Sadler’s Wells, which connects with people of all ages and backgrounds.
They are still at the heart of what we do.
For us at Sadler’s Wells, it feels important to connect the company with some of the most ambitious choreographers making work today, and to give a public platform to their collaboration as part of our artistic programme. Our dancers get to experience work by current choreographers and are challenged by them – they are passionate and hungry to create new work! It’s also very much a two-way experience: our choreographers work with a different type of dancer and find it a richly productive experience.
This performance is also a celebration of dance that challenges perceptions of who can dance. I do hope you enjoy the performance, and that you see dance in a new light and relish the rich and vibrant life experiences that these dancers bring to the stage.”
Review by Richard Lambert, 3 Stars
There’s something rather wonderful about giving everyone a chance to express themselves, send caution to the wind, and enjoy life. Company of Elders is formed of a group of people who share a common desire to dance while being at least 60 years young. While clear from the outset that these are not trained dancers, what you can see in their expressions is commitment to the piece while projecting the emotion of the story or the music.
It’s a mixed bill of 3 pieces.
Starting with a style I haven’t witnessed in 30 years since leaving the Off Off Broadway World of Manhattan, there’s the use of breath control to accent the body’s movement, repetition and a rehearsed cacophony of movements. Once considered very modern and now perhaps vintage.
The 2nd piece slightly more upbeat with some golden oldie tunes, including Donna Summer’s classic “I feel love”. I’d describe the choreography as “age-inappropriate” but then, isn’t this what the show is all about? And that was what made the piece so wonderfully glorious and fun!
The final piece has a very sweet story about a love that was once lost – and the lady in question (Pam Zinkin) “goes for it” and ventures out to a nightclub to co-incidentally bump into her childhood sweet-heart. Misunderstandings are discussed and wounds are healed. A simple naive story but very touching.
As expected there are a variety of dance skills, performance skills and rhythmic timing. There were a few dancers that stood out – Isidora Joseph and Betsy Field. What they all show is a projected emotional attachment to be up there and dancing. The finale became an invitation for the audience to join in on the stage – which the majority did. I didn’t, fearing I might enjoy it too much and end up joining the Sadler’s Wells weekly dance group for the over 60s.
It was an unexpected blast!
Photo credit: Gigi Giannella