Elixir Festival is on at Sadler’s Wells

elixir festival 3037549b

This April, Sadler’s Wells becomes the beating heart of a unique celebration with the return of its much-anticipated Elixir Festival. Over two transformative weeks, the festival will dismantle the preconceptions surrounding dance and age, featuring a blend of performances, workshops, artist talks, and films. With its bold programme, Elixir poses a potent question to the public and the dance community alike: how do we articulate the evolution of our bodies and minds through the art of movement?

The festival commences with a triple bill in the esteemed Sadler’s Wells Theatre, including the London premiere of the co-produced common ground[s], a profound duet by Germaine Acogny—often hailed as the ‘mother of contemporary African dance’—and Pina Bausch’s acclaimed associate, Malou Airaudo. This opening act sets the festival’s tone, promising a series of captivating narratives that speak to the essence of our shared human experience.

Moreover, the roster features the world premiere of Ben Duke’s whimsically titled a trio for two dancers and a tortoise and concludes with Louise Lecavalier’s Blue, distilling the essence of her acclaimed piece, So Blue, into a striking solo performance.

Adjacent to the main stage, the intimate Lilian Baylis Studio will host an exchange of talent and tales between Sadler’s Wells Company of Elders and ZooNation Youth Company. The studio will reverberate with the timeless rhythms of Merce Cunningham’s Story, reflecting the festival’s overarching theme of generational dialogue, while intergenerational duets and intimate explorations into the perspectives on ageing bodies will inject personal narratives into the festival’s artistic discourse.

A vibrant contrast to the staged spectacles, Sadler’s Wells’ Front of House invites Christopher Matthews to unravel the nuances of queer desire in later life, providing a rare glimpse into a seldom-explored aspect of ageing within the LGBTQ+ community.

Echoing through the workshops and talks, Elixir extends the practice of dance beyond the performers to embrace the public, fostering an inclusive space for growth and exploration. The festival’s message is clear and resonant: dance is an expression that knows no age, and its tapestry is richer for the threads of experience woven by each performer.

As Elixir Festival draws to a close, the joy of dance spills over to the Get into Dance Festival, rallying the community into the joyous realm of performance, while the Posh Club anoints the festivities with a flair for showmanship. The festival’s legacy is an enduring one, laying the groundwork for a deeper appreciation of dance as a vessel for the stories we live and the lives we dance—stories that continue to echo long after the final curtain falls.