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Dr Geraldine Morris to return to the stage at Elixir Festival

Dr Geraldine Morris, Reader in Dance, will perform for the first time in 40 years during the Elixir Festival at Sadler’s Wells [September 12 and 13], which celebrates lifelong creativity and the contribution of older dance artists.

Posted: 3 September 2014

image for news story Dr Geraldine Morris to return to the stage at Elixir Festival
Dr Geraldine Morris and Ben Stevens as young dancers at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin – a scrapbook item she supplied during the creation of the new work for the Elixir Festival
Dr Morris, a former dancer with The Royal Ballet, will perform in Elders Project, a new work by choreographer Jonathan Burrows for the mixed programme ‘KnowBody: A Lifetime of Experiences’. The dance work involves nine retired professional dancers, two from ballet and seven from contemporary dance, ranging in age from 55 to 70.

Dr Morris said: ‘The piece explores the way in which dance movements are retained and embodied in an aging body. It takes a wry look at age and aging, and brings in our inauspicious beginnings – I started taking ballet classes over a cinema in Dublin! We each have a solo to which we brought our own movement style and vocabulary.’

During her years with The Royal Ballet, Dr Morris worked with Britain’s foremost ballet choreographers, Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan. She has written extensively on Ashton’s work and recently published the book Frederick Ashton’s Ballets: Style, Performance, Choreography.

She was approached to be in Elders Project by Jane Hackett, Co-Director of Creative Learning at Sadler’s Wells, and Department of Dance alumna. Jonathan Burrows is currently Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist and an Honorary Visiting Professor in Roehampton’s Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance. Like Dr Morris, he is also a former Royal Ballet dancer.

Dr Morris said: ‘I have enjoyed working with Jonathan hugely and learned so much. Because of my Ashton background, I am used to emphasising certain movements and Jonathan is concerned that no single movement should be foregrounded. I found this difficult, but it has demonstrated experientially that training and choreography give rise to a dancer’s embodied style – an argument I make in much of my research. It’s been a new experience and I am glad I have done it.’

Joining the Roehampton line-up at the festival is Dr. Sara Houston, Principal Lecturer in the Department of Dance, who will speak at the festival’s conference ‘The Art of Age’.

The performances on 12 and 13 September begin at 19.30 at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R. Tickets are £15 (£7.50 for concessions). Pre-show dance films will be shown in the foyer from 6.30pm. Elders Project will also be performed at Middlesex University on 7 October.

More information, videos of rehearsals, and tickets can be found here. You can read Dr Morris’ contribution to the festival’s blog here.

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