Company of Elders, 3 Stars

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

You’re Here, You’re Here

Performed by Three Score Dance Company
Choreographed by Rhiannon Faith
“It has been a complete joy and privilege working with Three Score Dance on this new piece of work. We have spoken about compassion, care, suffering, dismantling barriers that exclude light, shadowlands
and wholeness. Together we have co-created this work using autobiographical text, creative tasks and motivation to feel and heal.” Rhiannon Faith
Choreographer/Director/Design Rhiannon Faith
Devised with and performed by Christy Adair, Rosie Chapple, Ian Cunningham, Saskia Heriz, Bob Kingsley, Hilary Lane, Michael Munday, Helen Tate, Sarah-Jane Wren
Lighting Design Mike Bignall
Three Score Dance Company, based in Brighton & Hove, enables older people to create and perform contemporary dance. With professional choreographers, it explores the potential for work that engages, entertains and captures the imagination. Through dancing, it aims to change perceptions and challenge expectations of ageing.

we’re going to have to get better at this

Performed by Company of Elders
Choreographed by James Cousins Company

What dictates the validity of a body? This new work by James Cousins Company, featuring poetry by Sabrina Mahfouz, presents the strength and beauty within older bodies.
We see their rich history, their hope, possibility. They are as ready, if not more than ever before to feel good. To feel love. To feel…Ready?
Choreographer James Cousins
Co-Choreographer Gareth Mole
Lighting Design Joe Hornsby
Costume Design Lara Buffard
Composition PÄTO
Poetry Sabrina Mahfouz
Voiced by Rachael Ofori
Dancers Almeric Johnson, Amina Patel, Betsy Field, Catriona Maccoll, Chris Havell , Damien Murphy, Dahlia Douglas, Isidora Joseph, Kate Marshall, Keiko Onishi, Linda Lewcock, Margaret Gaskin, Monica Duck, Rachel Thompson, Roberto Ishii, Sara Harris, Stephen Rowe
Additional music: ‘I Feel Love’ by Donna Summer
James Cousins Company create bold, refreshing dance experiences that inspire and entertain audiences by transporting them into unique worlds on stage, screen and beyond. Founded in 2014 the company, led by choreographer James Cousins, has been on four extensive UK tours as well as presented and created work across Europe, South America and Asia. In 2019, JCC was nominated for Best Independent Company at the National Dance Awards.

Last Night a DJ Saved My Life Performed by Company of Elders

Choreographed by Bagsy
Ursula has lost the love to go out and dance ever since her heart was broken by Johnathan, the love of her life. Her best friend Maggie persuades her to go out to a club called JoJos by helping her reminisce about the good old days of past flings and flames. Music is the key to healing, as Ursula discovers as she watches dancers give life to the music. However, much more was discovered that night as Johnathan explains the reason for his heartless departure.
His father had passed away: unable to cope with the loss he chose to run away. He loves Ursula and needs to tell her all, allowing her to finally forgive him and reconcile their love.
Choreography & Text Bagsy
Lighting Design Amelia Hawkes
Dancers Almeric Johnson, Amina Patel, Betsy Field, Catriona Maccoll, Christopher Dunham, Chris Havell, Damien Murphy, Dahlia Douglas, Isidora Joseph, Kate Marshall, Keiko Onishi, Linda Lewcock , Margaret Gaskin, Monica Duck, Pam Zinkin, Rachel Thompson, Roberto Ishii, Sara Harris, Stephen Rowe
Bagsy is a dancer, choreographer, actor and stunt performer from South London. He started out as an aeronautical engineer designing aircraft engines for Rolls Royce before moving to Japan to pursue his dream of dance. Now a world-renowned dancer, winning multiple competitions around the world, he is an artist who explores the limits of mind, body and soul whilst fighting against a world of high expectations for a cisgender black male.