HOST is an event about shifting attitudes to older people in dance performance contexts, focusing on the artistry of choreographing with older bodies. The day will include workshops, presentations from experienced artists and a facilitated panel discussion, and will end with a sharing of performance work and film. This event is for older dancers, as well as practitioners, leaders and choreographers, and those working with older people.


12.00 | Shared lunch

13.00 | Workshops led by specialist artists, including Danielle Teale and Mary Davies

14.30 | Presentations by Sonia York-Pryce and Jennifer Jackson

15.45 | Panel discussion

17.30 | Performances from The Elderberries, Countpoint Dance, Damn Fine Dance (choreographed by Molly Wright) and others


Sonia York Pryce’s Presentation ‘The Mature Dancer: value, validation and visibility’

Sonia York-Pryce PhD Candidate from QCA Griffith University. The research investigates the role of dancers who extend beyond the industry expectations of acceptable age and analyse the contribution that they are making to current dialogues relating to ageism in the field. Sonia’s research highlights the mature dancer’s ‘corporeal difference’ and how their practice rather than age defines them.


Jennifer Jackson ‘Making room for new questions: ballet and ageing’

In 2004/05 I danced with From Here to Maturity Dance Company in a duet choreographed by Matthew Hawkins. The experience of returning to performance practice stimulated many questions about embodiment, ageing and my identity as a dance artist and I have been chipping away at these ever since through a series of collaborative and solo projects.

As an older practitioner, I observed profound shifts in the balance between the athletic and ‘artistic’ dimensions of my practice, as well as in the relationship between body and self. I pondered how mature or older dancer challenges established dance performance practice, especially in ballet which is so closely associated with youthful beauty and physical virtuosity.

My presentation draws together performance and reflection on this journey. I return to a question which Matthew posed during our 2004 creation. ‘What is a mature dance’ and to Virginia Woolf’s inspirational essay A Room of One’s Own (1928) to consider how the older practitioner can make room for new questions about ballet practice


Mary Davies’ Contemporary/Creative Workshop

Mary’s class will begin with a short warm up combining techniques adapted to embrace all abilities. Attention will be given to mobilising joints and centring the body. The second part to the class will focus on the relationship of sound and movement. By exploring the possibilities and the qualities within a chosen score the session will investigate ideas which might contribute to the development of sequences.


Tom Hobden’s Improvisation & Weight Sharing Workshop

Finding your feet with partner work. In this session we will explore ideas of improvisation, touch, transference of weight and a trusting connection in people you’re working with. Tom will work with the group to inspire confidence in sharing weight and realising the creative potential partner work.


Danielle Teales’ Seated Dance Workshop

Informed by ballet and contemporary technique, Danielle’s class will explore the choreography of a seated dance class and the possibility for artistry and creativity in chair based dance. The session will give examples of how expression, fluidity and lines in space, power and a range of dynamics can all be achieved in a seated context as well as give examples of how you can progress from seated to standing with a group that has a diverse range of abilities.

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