Established in 2014, the Elixir Festival is a unique event celebrating lifelong creativity and the contribution of older artists. It was set up to recognise the contribution that older artists make and challenge assumptions about what older people can and want to do.

In its inaugural year, the festival provided 2,500 people with the opportunity to experience older people dancing live and saw 500 older performers grace its stages.

In its return to Sadler’s Wells, Elixir Festival 2017 contains KnowBody II, Elixir Extracts, Elixir Workshops, The Elixir Conference and 7 Dialogues. The vibrant and varied programme of performances, workshops and a conference represents the breadth of opportunities available to prove that it’s never too late to start dancing.

In KnowBody II, internationally renowned older artists come together to perform new commissions and existing work, on the Sadler’s Wells stage.

William Forsythe’s Catalogue (First Edition) is performed by DANCE ON ENSEMBLE. The richness of the bodily knowledge shared between Jill Johnson and Christopher Roman, both former Forsythe Company dancers, is part of the fabric of the piece. The idea for the duet came from an intention to highlight the special relationship, shared sensibilities and coordinative skill set of Johnson and Roman.

Also in Knowbody II, Mats Ek’s piece Axe makes its UK debut performed by Ana Laguna and Yvan Auzely, alongside, commissioned work by Big Dance Theater’s Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar, performed by Elixir Ensemble, who featured in the Olivier Award-nominated Elders Project by Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion – Christopher Bannerman, Brian Bertscher, Anne Donnelly, Linda Gibbs, Betsy Gregory, Namron and Kenneth Tharp.

The programme also includes work by Pascal Merighi, working with father and daughter Dominique Mercy and Thusnelda Mercy – all guest artists with Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. Five former London Contemporary Dance Theatre dancers work with five alumni from National Youth Dance Company to pass on knowledge and insight in a work directed by Martin Welton with Robert Cohan CBE (choreographer and founding Artist Director of The Place) using choreography and themes from Cohan’s iconic work Forest as a starting point to explore Cohan’s knowledge of dance. Company of Elders, Sadler’s Wells’ resident inspirational over 60s performance company, performs a specially commissioned piece by Shobana Jeyasingh.