I started dancing as a child when I lived in Australia over 60 years ago. Friendships were made and continue to this day. At 15 years old, I was invited to join the local athletics club but decided to concentrate on my dancing. I have never had any regrets with this decision. I am now a very proud great grandmother and joy of joys still dancing! Reading a piece in the Salisbury Journal, inviting men and women over 60 to attend a workshop/audition for DANCE SIX-O Performance Group. I immediately booked myself in to attend. Joining this group has been very fulfilling for both body and soul! I look forward with great anticipation to the future performing with this wonderful, friendly, innovative group!
I have been mad about dancing since seeing Gum Boot dancing on the mines in Johannesburg while growing up. When coming to London in the ‘70s I was lucky to get tickets ‘on the night’ to a great deal of dance but not until joining DANCE SIX-O have I been able to spin around myself. It’s the movement that has always given me a kick, from micro scooters, surfing, cycling etc.
I trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in the 1970s and although a drama student, I took full advantage of all the opportunities to see as many dance shows as I could, particularly at Sadler’s Wells. I discovered contemporary dance and its creative freedom.
As a drama teacher, performer and lecturer for over thirty years, I always found an affinity working with dance practitioners on collaborative dance and drama projects. Retired from teaching, I now run Stagecoach Performing Arts in Poole, supporting emerging talents in dance, drama and singing. With more time for the things I want to do – instead of the things I have to do- I’m able to pursue my creativity and fitness via DANCE SIX-O, choir at University of Southampton and yoga classes in my home town, Winchester.
In my sixties, it’s a delight to be able to participate in contemporary dance, exhilarated by its freedom and abstract nature. I’m still performing with Gaudy Bunting, the theatre company I co-founded in 2012. This is another creative outlet.
As a child I took ballet and tap lessons until the age of eleven when I became interested in drama.
Whilst deciding I wanted to train to become a primary school teacher was an easy option, harder decisions had to be made on main subject choices. I opted to study dance at Crewe and Alsager College and there, I began to appreciate that dance is much more than pointed toes! Dance, for me, became the expression of all that the heart can feel, its passions and pangs, it’s moods and aspirations. After college, marriage, children and family commitments alongside a fulfilling teaching career, filled the days. Living near to Manchester I was able to continue to enjoy the richness of theatre, concerts and dance.
And now well into retirement I once again have the wonderful opportunity to express myself creatively through DANCE SIX-O. The physical, emotional and social benefits of dance are well documented but for me it is the sheer delight in moving creatively and expressively with others that remains my driving force.
I first fell in love with dance when, at aged 3, I was taken to see the Bolshoi film of Swan Lake. That was it – I was hooked. I started ballet then and decided that would be my life. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t agree!! So this is a dream come true, to be part of a dance company now. I feel privileged and extremely lucky and I’m loving every minute of it. Thank you DANCE SIX-O
I started dancing classes aged six. Later I specialised in Greek and character dance and continued until I left for college aged nineteen. At Birmingham University I danced with a group performing 18th/19th century dances in village halls.
Moving to Salisbury I joined contemporary dance classes at the Arts Centre and, on retiring, attended as many dance classes as I could find; including tap, Spanish and African, and have seen dance performances in Salisbury, Southampton, Bath, London, Exeter and elsewhere.
In 2014 interested members of Mind the Gap, our acting group for over sixties, were taken to see a performance by The Company of Elders at Sadlers Wells. The Elixir programme there looked so exciting I attended the whole weekend of performances, and workshops on choreographing older people. The slow and graceful movements of groups and individuals inspired me to join with Meg and then Philippa to form such a group for over sixties in Salisbury.
My name is Sarah Wilson nee Kirkpatrick and I am 64 years old.
My late sister was the dancer in the family whom we watched at every opportunity throughout her professional dance career. So I have always loved contemporary dance but until September this year, when I joined DANCE SIX-O, I had never imagined that I would be in a contemporary dance class myself, let alone take part in a dance performance with Lila Dance. Being part of the community cast in The Deluge was an amazing experience. It was emotionally stimulating and absorbing, challenging physically and mentally and to work as a group was hugely rewarding.
Dance has made me more aware of my own body and I feel stronger, fitter and more able to balance. It is a joy to express myself in a creative way connecting with a group of like-minded people who help and encourage each other, developing close bonds of trust and friendship. Quite simply dancing makes me happy and at the end of every class I feel a deep sense of wellbeing.
Looking back, sport, dance, music, design and nature have always been a large part of how I live – together they make me happy! As a small girl I chose ponies before ballet; as a teenager I learned to play guitar and jived each weekend away.
I gained a Dip AD in Fashion & Textiles from Birmingham Art College. Always athletic but too old to compete, I trained with the Olympic gymnastics team there, and was a disco dancer.
In Cheltenham with a family, I learnt Graham Technique from an ex-Rambert dancer, unfortunately for only a year. Ten years later an excellent Jazz Jive class started – great fun and I regret not qualifying to teach! I became a primary teacher, and choreographed many groups of girls and boys to take part in the annual Dance Festival.
I now live in rural Wiltshire, go to Pilates and art classes, am a grandmother and Cathedral guide, and I’M DANCING AGAIN!
I have danced before but that did not prepare me for the experience of DANCE SIX-O. What has surprised (and delighted) me is the closeness of interaction with my fellow dancers. There is an intensity in our dance which is something I just don’t come across in everyday life. And this a delight! In a world where we are increasingly isolated at any number of levels. The opportunity to communicate so profoundly is welcome – and healing – and therapeutic. Then there’s another level of communication and interaction – and that’s with myself. My artistic expression has been with words or music – and this is my first opportunity to use my body to express myself. Again, it takes me to levels I have not been before. It’s exhausting, exhilarating, and leaves me feeling very renewed.
Despite a dislike of sport I always enjoyed gymnastics and swimming, but never had the opportunity to learn to dance. Although at senior school we were taught the rudiments of ballroom dancing because the dance floor was where ‘girls would meet nice young men’! I have always wanted to dance and could not believe my luck when I heard about DANCE SIX-O. It has been such a wonderful challenging experience, instilling confidence and a sense of elation. I have practised Yoga for 20 years which now combined with dancing, gives me flexibility and freedom of movement. I hope I never have to stop!