There is no such thing as ‘too old’ to dance. In recognition of this belief, Dance City is hosting Inspire Festival – a weekend dedicated to dance and ageing. The festival looks to celebrate the versatility of dance and its timeless importance in our lives. With a range of sessions including workshops, performances and talks, Inspire Festival aims to remind a generation of dancers of the lifelong joys of dance. Whether you have never danced before, or are a seasoned performer, Inspire Festival is a unique opportunity to explore movement and creativity with others. Dance has no upper age limit – it welcomes all and Dance City is proud to support all dancers in discovering their passion. 

Taking place at Dance City, Newcastle, an inspiring line up of speakers, dancers and workshops has been assembled and there is a huge range of content on offer by and for people aged 55 and over. 

Dance City seeks to empower its dancers by promoting and developing dance with over 55’s. Look out for an open rehearsal and performance with BoundlessDance City‘s 55+ dance company. Boundless provides a unique opportunity for mature dancers in the region to develop their contemporary dance and performance skills as well as technical ability. The company work with talented Dance City teachers as well as local guest choreographers to create original work for digital and in person performance opportunities.

Carolyn George, member of Boundless, says:

I am nearly 71 now, but loving to dance does not end just because you are older. I cannot imagine my life without dance. Being a member of Boundless is a wonderful bonus; it has given me an opportunity, to create and to perform with like-minded people.

Previous Dance City 55+ class attendees have said:

“I have a new lease of life. Many mature people become isolated and invisible in their communities. Dance and Music are great for well being”

“I never imagined that, having no prior dance experience, I would get so ‘hooked’ on learning and practising dance at the age of 55+.”

Saturday Inspire Festival activities include creative workshops with BalleLORENT’s Caroline Reece, the chance to try Aerial, and improvisation with Tim Rubidge. There will be an open rehearsal and performance by Dance City’s 55+ Company, Boundless. Septuagenarian Dora Frankel will present her award-winning screen dance film Touch The Beast, and there will be an opportunity for intergenerational dancing with Helen Kumar. 

Sunday Inspire Festival activities include a Voguing workshop with the very fierce Darren Pritchard, Fitsteps and Ballroom with Caroline Banks, Roncametrics with Gill Roncarelli, and grandparent-child dance with Helen Kumar. We are also delighted that Sir Richard Alston will be talking about his illustrious career in dance, and presenting a new work made on his colleague Martin Lawrance, who is still professionally dancing at 49 years. 

Pictured: Gill Gray – Boundless

How to get involved

You can book your tickets via the Dance City website, or by clicking the headers below: 

Saturday Day Ticket £25 
Purchasing a Saturday Inspire Festival Day Ticket will enable you to book onto any of the Saturday events below at no extra charge. You will be sent information on how to do this once you have purchased your ticket.

Sunday Day Ticket £20 
Purchasing a Sunday Inspire Festival Day Ticket will enable you to book onto any of the Sunday events at no extra charge. You will be sent information on how to do this once you have purchased your ticket.

Weekend tickets are £35
Simply add both Saturday and Sunday tickets to your basket and the discount will be automatically applied. You will then be able to book onto all Inspire Festival events at no extra charge.
 

Dance City looks forward to welcoming you to this inspiring weekend, dedicated to dance. 

Itinerary

At-a-glance timetable

Click the timetable to enlarge

 

Saturday

11am – 12pm – Welcome, warm-ups and introductions with the day’s Artists and Practitioners

55+ Yoga Flow Workshops with Debbi Purtill
Yoga Workshop 1 – Yoga 12.30-1.10pm
Yoga Workshop 2 – Yoga – 1.30-2.10pm
Yoga Workshop 3 – Yoga 3.30-4.10pm

Dance Workshops with Caroline Reece

Caroline Reece VA(R)NISH Workshop – 12.30 – 1.10pm
Caroline Reece Ballet Workshop – 1.30 – 2.10pm
Caroline Reece Contemporary Dance Workshop – 3.30 – 4.10pm

About

Caroline Reece is 57. Since completing her training at The Urdang Academy & The Laban Centre, Caroline went on to teach & perform with Nexus Dance Company for six years with repertoire including work by David Massingham, Janet Smith, Emlyn Claid and Nigel Charnock. She then performed with Emma Diamond, Claire Russ, Felix Ruckert, Gary Clarke & in Dance For Camera projects with Wendy Houstoun & Nigel Charnock before joining balletLORENT. Caroline has also performed in Peter Pan at Northern Stage directed by Erica Whyman and two previous Northern Stage productions directed by Alan Lydiard, The Black Eyed Roses and a tour of Animal Farm. Caroline has taught at Newcastle College, Northumbria University, The Urdang Academy, the CAT at Dance City , Billy London LTD, was Rehearsal Director for Verve at Northern School of Contemporary Dance and now teaches Dance to People with Parkinson’s. Caroline has performed in most of balletLORENT’s productions since 1996.

Caroline says: “I am interested in why some women feel invisible later in life…when does this start happening and is it to do with the Menopause and our identity as women? Can these feelings be translated into movement and shared? Movement is a way of communicating and can often reveal more subtle nuances of our hidden feelings and complex emotional responses. Sometimes we can feel overlooked and undervalued in what is primarily a shared experience, after all, everyone will age. Where do these ideas about ageing come from that have become part of our culture? This is what I am thinking about at the moment.”

VA(R)NISH Workshop – the workshop will start with a short warm up before working to create some new movements inspired from this session together in the studio with the possibility of learning a few movements from the VA(R)NISH film, time permitting.

Aerial Workshops with Lynn Campbell and Jane Park

Lynn Campbell Aerial Workshop 1 – 12.30-1.10pm
Lynn Campbell Aerial Workshop 2 – 1.30-2.10pm
Lynn Campbell Aerial Workshop 3 – 3.30-4.10pm

About

Lynn Campbell and Jane Park are over 55 and love being in the air! Both love to teach and to perform. Lynn has trained as a teacher (dance, circus, PGCE, dance therapist and yoga teacher). Jane is an artist, Iyengar yoga teacher and circus tutor.

The Inspire Festival Aerial workshops are short tasters of the fun and challenge that aerial skills provide. You might use trapeze, aerial hoop, cocoons and silks. Aerial is a great way of keeping fit, improving mobility and having fun!

Improvisation Workshops with Tim Rubidge

Tim Rubidge Improvisation Workshop 1 – 12.30 – 1.10pm
Tim Rubidge Improvisation Workshop 2 – 1.30 – 2.10pm

About

Born in 1949, for nearly fifty years Tim has explored and devised many new dance works, presenting solo and small ensemble choreographies and performances nationally and internationally in cities and communities in the UK, Europe, USA and South Africa. In parallel he has developed and directed ground-breaking community participatory projects in very diverse settings. He went on to conceive and direct a series of site-specific performances that developed and drew upon imaginative, physical and sensory experiences of both rural and urban locations. He was Visiting Fellow in Performing Arts at Northumbria University for three years and has received many grants and awards.

Workshop – over his long career Tim has found so many ways to devise a dance, a choreography. This workshop is a whistle-stop tour of following one direction to see where it goes – moving to make meaning.

Mini and Mature Movers Workshop with Helen Kumar

Mini and Mature Movers Workshop – 3.30-4.10pm

About 

Helen Kumar is part of Dance City’s Engagement team. She has over 20 years’ experience in teaching dance. Helen says: “I love seeing generations dancing together and think this will be a wonderful session!” Get your grandchild/grandchildren dropped off and enjoy time dancing together. Moving and grooving, wiggling and giggling this is a fun, creative workshop for mini ones under the age of 6 and more mature dancers of any age!

Boundless Open Rehearsal and Performance

Open Rehearsal 3 – 3.30pm
Performance 6pm
Performance 6pm (followed by a post-show Q&A):

  • Boundless 55+ Company – new work by John Kendall (15 min)
  • Touch the Beast – screen dance film by Dora Frankel (10 min) Touch the Beast is an award-winning dance film and performance which evokes a Gothic world through the lens of the 21st century. Featuring a diverse and charismatic cast, including non-binary dancers, caught in a moment of time.
  • Four Studies in Hope – Tim Rubidge – (15 min) This is an extract from a full-length work that Tim Rubidge devised and performed with Swiss colleague Karin Hermes. It toured in Europe between 2018 and the beginning of Covid-19 and included a number of 3-day residencies including in Berlin, Zurich, Lucerne, Ascona and London. It explores how hope can find physical expression.

About

Boundless is the name of Dance City’s 55+ company which provides a unique opportunity for mature dancers in the region to develop their contemporary dance and performance skills as well as technical ability. The company work with talented Dance City teachers as well as local guest choreographers to create original work for digital and in person performance opportunities. The work that will be presented at Inspire Festival is a new original work choreographed by John Kendall. John trained at Scottish School of Contemporary Dance; EDge (postgraduate company of London Contemporary Dance School). He joined balletLORENT in 2011 and has also worked with Martin Forsberg; Ben Duke; Jorge Crecis; Matthew Robinson; Rocco Vermijs; Thomas Small; Pete Shenton; Daria Buzovkina; Robby Graham; Peter Groom; Anthony Lo-Giudice and most recently Joan Cleville with Plan B for Utopia and The North.

SATURDAY DROP-IN ACTIVITIES (no booking required)

VA(R)NISH – film installation loop

Small Meeting Room, 11am – 7pm both days

VA(R)NISH is a short dance film created on zoom with women in the North East & Scotland over Lockdown 3 that seeks to challenge an article in a magazine suggesting that older women should not wear brightly coloured nail varnish as it draws attention to their ageing hands. The movement has been inspired by our workshops in Bharatanatyam and South Asian Folk Dance with Anusha Subramanyam, Vogueing with Patrick Ziza and BSL with Nicole Vivien Watson and marks the beginning of our research into why some women feel invisible when they reach a ‘certain age’, coinciding with the Menopause.

Three Score Dance – dance film installation loop

Studio 5, 11am – 7pm both days 

Digital Tapestries- Dancing with the Birds 

Commissioned filmmaker-choreographer Marisa Zanotti 

Led by the innovative filmmaker, Dr. Marisa Zanotti, this boundary-pushing dance film follows a group through their creative journey in lockdown and ways in which they’ve explored their emotional landscape and lockdown as a physical and psychological reality. This film celebrates the creativity of these elder dancers as a form of resistance. 

 

Sunday

10am – 11am – Welcome from Sir Richard Alston, renowned choreographer and Artistic Director

12pm – In Conversation with Sir Richard Alston

Caroline Banks Workshops

Caroline Banks Fitsteps at the Movies Workshop, 11 – 11.40am
Caroline Banks Basic Ballroom Workshop, 12.30 – 1.30pm

About

Caroline Banks has taught at Dance City for 5 years specialising in Ballroom, Latin American, Tap and Fitsteps. From a young age her background has been dance and in more recent years she decided to make it a full time career which she says is “easily the best decision I ever made!”

Fitsteps Workshop – This themed workshop will take you through a serious of classic Ballroom and Latin moves in a dance fitness style focusing on basic technique and flair. Movie-themed music will see us waltzing, jiving and quickstepping through a fun filled session and is aimed at both the beginner and those with some Fitsteps experience.

Ballroom Workshop – This session is aimed at the beginner/improver and will include partner work or can be danced solo. Join us on the dance floor as we put together simple choreography to music while having fun learning some basic Ballroom technique.

Gill Roncarelli, Roncametrics Workshops

Roncametrics Workshop 1 – 11 – 11.40am
Roncametrics Workshop 2 – 12.30 – 1.10pm
Roncametrics Workshop 3 – 2 – 2.40pm

About

Gill Roncarelli is an ex- professional dancer in; Ballet, Contemporary, Musical Theatre and Physical Theatre. Born in 1961 she trained at Tweedies in Manchester and went professional at the age of sixteen. Gill danced all over Europe and taught at the Strauss Institute in Via Brera, Milan, from 1980-1985, which specialised in movement therapies such as Alexander technique, Feldenkrais, Pilates, Cunningham and Mattox technique. After returning to the UK, Gill taught dance and movement at Cumbria College of Art and Design, was a Senior Lecturer in Dance, Movement and Physical Theatre at Cumbria Institute of the Arts and was Course Leader for Dance at the University of Cumbria until 2016. Gill’s research in that time focused on the efficiency of movement and her work over the last 20 years has been dedicated to finding exercises and asanas from a series of disciplines that give the fastest results in; toning, flexibility, focus and breath. After a series of 10 trials using people from different backgrounds, ages, and body types, Gill created ‘Roncametrics’

Each Roncamtrics session will include elements of breathing, stretching, tensing and relaxing muscle groups.

Mini and Mature Movers Workshop with Helen Kumar

Mini and Mature Movers Workshop – 11.00 – 11.40am

About 

Helen Kumar is part of Dance City’s Engagement team. She has over 20 years’ experience in teaching dance. Helen says: “I love seeing generations dancing together and think this will be a wonderful session!” Get your grandchild/grandchildren dropped off and enjoy time dancing together. Moving and grooving, wiggling and giggling this is a fun, creative workshop for mini ones under the age of 6 and more mature dancers of any age!

Darren Pritchard Voguing Workshops

Voguing with Darren Pritchard Workshop 1 – 12.30 – 1.10pm
Voguing with Darren Pritchard Workshop 2 – 2.00 – 2.40pm

About

Darren is a performer, choreographer, teacher, producer, and director. He’s also a celebrated Vogue performer and the Mother of the House of Ghetto in Manchester. He is fierce.
Voguing is for everyone, regardless of your experience – it’s all about love, sharing and self-expression.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve not danced or heard of voguing before. These workshops provide a safe, no-pressure space for people of all abilities, backgrounds & experiences to discover Vogue, discover themselves and most importantly have fun!

Pilates Workshop – Mark Turner

Pilates Workshop – 2:00 – 2:40pm

About

This workshop consists of low-impact flexibility and muscular strength and endurance movements. Pilates emphasizes proper postural alignment, core strength and muscle balance for grace and ease in your daily movements. Most classes will begin with some Feldenkrais (somatic movement technique) exercises to improve awareness, reduce tension and encourage the greatest efficiency of moving.

Performance 4.00pm (followed by a post-show Q&A with Sir Richard Alston)

Short solo work performed by Martin Lawrance, choreographed by Sir Richard Alston.

About 

Sir Richard Alston CBE (born 30 October 1948) is a British choreographer. He has been resident choreographer and artistic director for Ballet Rambert and is currently artistic director at The Place. Among his works should be mentioned “Windhover” (1972), “Soda Lake” and “Pulsinella” (1987).
Sir Richard has created a short solo work to be performed at Inspire Festival. He says of the project:
“In order to show how I have worked with older dancers, I decided to make a short solo for Martin Lawrance, who is now 49 and who I have worked with a lot over the years. I’d love to do this, to show what’s possible with an experienced but retired senior dancer who has always inspired me.”

5.30pm – closing refreshments

SUNDAY DROP-IN ACTIVITIES (no booking required)

VA(R)NISH – film installation loop

Small Meeting Room, 11am – 7pm both days

VA(R)NISH is a short dance film created on zoom with women in the North East & Scotland over Lockdown 3 that seeks to challenge an article in a magazine suggesting that older women should not wear brightly coloured nail varnish as it draws attention to their ageing hands. The movement has been inspired by our workshops in Bharatanatyam and South Asian Folk Dance with Anusha Subramanyam, Vogueing with Patrick Ziza and BSL with Nicole Vivien Watson and marks the beginning of our research into why some women feel invisible when they reach a ‘certain age’, coinciding with the Menopause.

Three Score Dance – dance film installation loop

Studio 5, 11am – 7pm both days 

Digital Tapestries- Dancing with the Birds 

Commissioned filmmaker-choreographer Marisa Zanotti 

Led by the innovative filmmaker, Dr. Marisa Zanotti, this boundary-pushing dance film follows a group through their creative journey in lockdown and ways in which they’ve explored their emotional landscape and lockdown as a physical and psychological reality. This film celebrates the creativity of these elder dancers as a form of resistance. 

Q&A 4pm with Three Score Dance
A Q&A about Digital Tapestries: ‘Dancing With The Birds’ with Company Artistic Director: Jason Keenan Smith and commissioned Film Artist Dr. Marisa Zanotti discussing the company, innovative art, lockdown, and privileging the unseen.