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Looking Back at Ageless Festival

Fri 15 November 2019
Part of: AGELESS Festival | July 2022
FEATURE SIZE The Rest of Our Lives by Jo Fong and George Orange. Ageless Festival © Sara Teresa (48)

Here at Yorkshire Dance, we’ve been reflecting on the successes of our recent Ageless Festival.

Over two days we presented 26 events, across three venues in Quarry Hill. We were joined by 27 artists and companies from across the world for a weekend of vibrant, challenging and celebratory work with a focus on age. This included presenting a number of UK premieres such as ‘Nonna’s Don’t Cry’ by French company DIRTZ Theatre, and Riccardo Buscarini who came all the way from Italy with his performance ‘I Wish This Dance Would Never End’, supported by Leeds Dance Partnership.

With a growing ageing population, the festival was driven by a desire to shine a light on this timely and exciting area of dance and research and celebrate the work that Yorkshire Dance has developed with hundreds of older people in Leeds and across Yorkshire over the last decade. A key highlight in the festival was the ‘Celebrating Participation Performance’ at Leeds Playhouse, which included over 60 local people performing ‘Beige’, alongside guest companies ‘Dance SIX-0’ and ‘ThreeScore’. This event brought the audience to rapturous applause, further highlighting the ambition and scale of work by companies of older performers.

This was the first time we have combined the elements of our biennial conference with the ethos and energy of the Encounters Festival series. We worked with festival partners and key stakeholders across the dance, health and wellbeing sectors to ensure that Ageless encompassed the learning and principals of a conference, but also enabled audiences to engage in performances, workshops and the artistic output of dance with older people.

We were thrilled to be joined by such an engaged audience, which included over 100 new attendees, as well as those who have attended and supported previous Yorkshire Dance events. Audiences came from all over the world and we’ve received some lovely feedback and responses.

“Great team, well organised, friendly and welcoming! Great mix of local, national & international practice to share”

“Lovely to see so many ageing faces and bodies”

Hannah Robertshaw, our Programmes Director, said:

“Ageless surpassed all our expectations – it brought together an incredible mix of local, national and international guests with work that balanced anarchy and humour with intimacy, care and attention. I went from being moved to tears to falling off my chair laughing. The past 6 years of programme development informed Ageless and somehow it feels like the journey is just beginning.”

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