2015 – The Beginning
DANCE SIX-0 started in response to a visit to the Elixir Festival at Sadler’s Wells where The Company of Elders, a dance company of people over 60 were performing. Founder members of DANCE SIX-0, Judith Bossano, Meg Edgar and Philippa Heseltine were inspired to establish an opportunity for contemporary dance in Salisbury, and were introduced to Vicky Thornton, a freelance dance producer. She was very enthusiastic and keen to get the venture off the ground and set up a meeting with Salisbury Playhouse to discuss the idea. Gemma Alldred, Community Director at Salisbury Playhouse, could also see the potential of a dance performance group catering for elders and offered support to test the idea. Judith, who is 80, was keen to emphasise that it cater for all ages over 60 and at varying levels of mobility, which we believe is DANCE SIX-0’s USP. Salisbury Playhouse gave us seed funding so that we could run three taster sessions in June. This enabled us to commission 3 professional dance teachers: Roz Conlon, Debbie Lee-Anthony and Rebecca Seymour to lead three dance sessions to test the waters.
The tasters were a huge success. Each one included a “talk out” at the end which revealed that some participants wanted to be part of a performance company and others wanted to join an open class to simply dance.
In September 2015, in response to the feedback, we held a workshop to audition our inaugural Company. 9 women and 3 men were selected. Two weeks later, we started 2 fully booked open classes, led by Debbie Lee-Anthony, and a Company class dedicated to dance performance with Rehearsal Director Rosalind Conlon. Salisbury Playhouse and Vicky Thornton continued to support us and we were also granted start up funding from Wiltshire Community Foundation.
Three weeks after being established, the Company performed as supporting cast with Lila Dance, in their touring production of ‘The Deluge’ at Salisbury Arts Centre on 20 October. This was an exciting first performance opportunity alongside a professional dance Company and Jigsaw Youth Dance Company at Salisbury Arts Centre.
We celebrated the end of our first successful term with a Christmas Sharing and fundraiser, at St Elizabeth’s Hall in Salisbury. This sociable and well-attended occasion saw three informal dance performances of works in progress, one from each of the Open Classes and the Company.
2 Open Classes and Company classes continued.
Neon Dance Choreographic Weekend Workshop for the Company led by Artistic Director Adrienne Hart on 5/6 March
The Company performed their own work “Dance Me” choreographed by Rosalind Conlon, at the Breathe event in Taunton (7 Feb), the Elixir Development Day at Sadlers Wells, London (18 Mar) and the D-Fuse dance platform at The Point (19 Mar).
May – Introduction of D60 Extra classes for people living with Dementia based at Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre. This specialist session was led by Rebecca Seymour and is funded by Wiltshire Council Local Area Board.
DANCE SIX-0 Commission at Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival
Set in Cathedral Close amongst Sophie Ryder’s monumental sculptures, this new dance work by Charlotte Spencer celebrates the fleeting nature of live performance. Holy places have always been spaces of gathering and community. This Very Moment – We Gather focuses on the delicate qualities of human interaction and exchange. This Very Moment is co-commissioned by the Festival and Dance Six-0.
The company undertook an introductory weekend and an intensive week (16 -20 may) to create the work.
Free Performances: Friday 3 and Saturday 4 June 2016 at 5pm and 7pm.
A Pimms and Pudding Fundraiser was held on 10th July, at the Medieval Hall, Salisbury.
We held our first AGM in October 2016
Open Classes participants and Company members took part in our, now annual, Christmas Sharing which was held at Salisbury Playhouse on 13 December 2016.
In 2017 we were successful in our first Arts Council, Grants for the Arts Application. We secured funding to work with professional choreographers to make short works to present at our first full evening of work titled DANCE SIX-0 and Friends, on 20th July 2017 at the Salberg Theatre, Salisbury Playhouse. We performed Ram Pam Pam by Debbie Lee Anthony with dancers from University of Winchester’s D@Win Company, The Things We Do, The Dance We Feel by Abi Mortimer of Lila Dance, and Head in my Bag by Liz Aggiss to a sold out audience. We also invited Grace and Growl from Bridport to perform their own work and Liz Aggiss performed an excerpt of her award winning work Slap and Tickle. The audience response was phenomenal, and cited how the evening challenged their perceptions of older people, was inspiring and presented something new and unexpected.
Open Classes continue with strong attendance and good feedback all year round.
We secured a grant from Wiltshire Community Foundation to support our Dementia Friendly Dance strand.
Company will perform Head in my bag at Pavilion Dance South West, Bournemouth on 1 October
The next DANCE SIX-0 AGM will take place on 1 December at Salisbury Playhouse
The next Christmas sharing is booked for 13th December 2pm at Salisbury Playhouse – more details soon!
So that brings you up to date with DANCE SIX-0. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our story so far as much as we enjoy dancing.