Sadler’s Wells announces full line up for Elixir Festival this April including performances, workshops, artist talks, and films

Elixir Festival challenges perceptions around dance and ageing with works from iconic international artists alongside dancers from local communities.

16 February 2024 Posted by One Dance Team


Elixir Festival takes over Sadler’s Wells for two weeks this April with a series of performances, workshops, talks, and films that challenge perceptions around dance and ageing. With works from iconic international artists alongside performances from dancers drawn from local communities in north and east London, the festival asks how do we express our changing bodies and minds as we grow and age? Elixir includes work from artists from 12 countries including Senegal, France, Canada, USA, Germany, UK, Belgium, Tunisia, Sweden, Australia, India, and Spain.       

Elixir Festival kicks off with a triple bill in Sadler’s Wells Theatre, which features the London premiere of Sadler’s Wells co-production common ground[s] - a duet between the ‘mother of contemporary African dance’ Germaine Acogny and longtime Pina Bausch collaborator Malou Airaudo. The mixed bill also includes a world premiere by Ben Duke a trio for two dancers and a tortoise, commissioned by Sadler’s Wells. Louise Lecavalier’s Bluea solo adapted from selected sections of her work, So Blue will complete the evening.

In the Lilian Baylis Studio, there will be an exchange between Sadler’s Wells Company of Elders & ZooNation Youth Company, Dance On Ensemble present a recreation of Merce Cunningham’s iconic work Story, Mohamed Toukabri performs an intergenerational duet with his mother, and Susan Kempster and Charlotta Öfverholm look into how we view our own bodies as we age in an intimate double bill. Front of House, Christopher Matthews brings an exploration of queer desire later in life.

In addition to the live performances, Sadler’s Wells presents a programme of six artist led workshops for older professional and non-professional dancers. Germaine Acogny teaches her Acogny technique, Susan Kempster explores the connection between dance partners. Charlotta Öfverholm investigates self expression in the body with her Age on Stage workshop, which is renowned in Europe. Julene Robinson focuses on the evolution of Jamaican dance forms and Jamaican folk movements. Swing Patrol hosts a workshop in the popular dance style. Company of Elders & ZooNation Youth Company host a brand new intergenerational hip-hop dance theatre workshop.

There are two free talks by the choreographers Christopher Matthews and Aakash Odedra, who share their artistic vision and process with audiences. The Mehek Live Symposium, led by Aakash Odedra Company shares their journey and findings on working collaboratively with the community.

Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage presents the Elixir Festival Cinema Club in the Fox Garden Court Cafe, a free showcase of films by internationally acclaimed artists including 5 newly commissioned films, with Louise Lecavalier, Aditi Mangaldas, Charlotta Öfverholm, Germaine Acogny, Malou Airaudo, Paco Peña and more. These films are also available on Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage.

For the closing weekend of Elixir Festival, Get into Dance Festival invites local community groups from Islington and east London to perform in the Lilian Baylis Studio and the innovative Posh Club hosts an event featuring Azara, Pink Suits, Don One and Posh Club x Dance Club.

Sadler’s Wells Learning & Engagement Producer, Christopher Haddow said, 'It's a privilege to work on a festival like Elixir that showcases renowned international artists side-by-side with people who love to dance and live right in our local neighbourhoods. This two-week programme reaches across generations, borders, bodies and genre. Elixir Festival shares a message creatively that dance is for everyone -- through performances, workshops, exhibitions, specially-commissioned films and panel discussions.'