Sage Dance Company is a community dance company for people aged 55 years and over. The mandate for the company is to continually create new work for performance and improve the members’ technique and further their skills through the rehearsal and performing process. This has led to increased abilities in learning skills and memory capacities as well as maintaining both the health and fitness of the dancers.
The work they do is sophisticated, challenging, fun and of genuine quality. As an original and unique classical ballet company, Sage are pushing back frontiers and boundaries by showing that the senior citizens within society can continue to live rich and healthy lives, be creative and acquire new knowledge and skills. Sage are great advocates for the causes of older people and, as role models, are living their vision of a more creative and healthier society.
A documentary video made by the late and great filmmaker Richard Taylor, in 2013.
Barbara Berkeley-Hill (Chair) Charles Denroche Bren Gosling Liz Heasman Felicity McDonald Carol Mercer Olivia Lousada Maggy Pigott Cecil Rowe Teresa Thornber-Mann Gilly Wesley (Treasurer) Jean Woollard (Secretary)
Teresa Earle Jen Kahawatte Catriona Maccoll
DIRECTOR AND CHOREOGRAPHER:
HMRC Charity No. XT37576
SAGE DANCE COMPANY BIOGRAPHIES
Simon Rice – Director & Choreographer
Simon was a First Soloist in The Royal Ballet Company (1982/92). He appeared in works by choreographers including Ashton, Balanchine, MacMillan & Robbins. He was the first male dancer to perform The Chosen One in MacMillan’s The Rite of Spring. His freelance work includes Carousel at The National Theatre, dancing Puck in The Fairy Queen (ENO), acting the role of Puck at the Mannheim Opera, Germany, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream & also The Skin of Our Teeth at The Young Vic and ‘I Do’ for Dante Or Die. Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre work includes Giselle at The Barbican. He choreographed The Vary People for K Ballet, Japan, and The Spoleto Festival. Italy. Co-founded flamingofeather supported by the Dancer’s Career Development. Founded Abundance, creating Still Moving, Moonshake and Grace. Formed over 55s dance company Sage Dance Company, creating Kinderszenen and Song Of Love. Awarded The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship 2010 to study models for social inclusion in Brazil.
Fionuala Power – Guest Choreographer & Teacher
Fionuala has worked extensively as both a dance teacher and a yoga teacher. She has been connecting to yoga for over 25 years through her personal practise and teaching, initially integrating yoga into her physical training as a professional dancer with The Royal Ballet Company, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Wayne MacGregor Dance Company and throughout her dancing career. In 1999 Fionuala started her training as a yoga teacher with The British Wheel of Yoga UK. She then travelled extensively to study with some of the most knowledgeable and distinguished Yoga teachers in Asia, Europe & New York. This is her first choreographic work for Sage Dance Company.
Barbara has had a lifelong passion for dance. From the ages of 7-15 she attended a small but very good provincial dance school and received a solid grounding in all forms of dance. She danced her way through university but then there was the inevitable gap as the demands of family life and a busy professional career in higher education took over. She is now enjoying a very active retirement and is delighted to have the chance to dance again as a member of Sage.
Charles started life in the 1950s, went to school in Hampton, studied botany at Oxford and in the 80s lived in Florence and Düsseldorf. He has worked as a language teacher, arts journalist, translator, lexicographer and lecturer in linguistics. He has been acting, singing and dancing all his life and enjoys what London offers the spectator. What attracts him to dance is the opportunity it gives to explore the expressiveness of gesture, the language of dance and the physical joy of daily movement. Dance is like translation, it allows a close reading of a piece of music, it creates a unique intimacy.
Teresa has been an artist for most of her life first studying art at the age of thirteen. Painting, Pottery and Sculpture have been her main medium, although dance has always been of great importance to her. With no formal training she attended many workshops covering many styles over the years. In 2008 an opportunity to work with a company leading to performance came when she joined Rosemary Lee for her “Common Dance”. Since then she has attended classes regularly with further work with Rosemary Lee as well as working and performing for Luca Silvestrini and Kate Flack. 2013 saw a much wished for opportunity to perform more classical pieces when she was invited to join Sage Dance Company.
Liz has a fine art background that included interests in movement, theatre and film, leading to a concentrated period of dance and mime studies in her twenties. After a long distraction for a career in the visual arts, she was surprised to discover that it is possible at any stage to rekindle the joy of performance in music and dance, and feels privileged to be part of a creative company such as Sage.
Olivia was six when a fortune teller broke her heart saying she would never be a dancer . Dancing was the only place she felt whole. In her stimulating careers as a Montessori teacher, head of Drama, social worker, psychodrama psychotherapist, doctoral researcher and carver of stone, she told herself these are my form of dance. Dance surprises, liberates and tames the wilder and tender parts of her and infects the way she lives. She joined Sage Dance Company in 2010.
Catriona trained as an actress and worked in theatre and TV for eleven years. She then retrained as a dramatherapist, working in the field for twenty-six years. She has studied various forms of dance. At the moment her main interests are tribal fusion belly dance, barefoot flamenco and dervish dance. She keeps fit through yoga, pilates and ballet floor barre. Joined Sage in 2012.
Felicity’s family moved to Zimbabwe from England when she was five. At eight she discovered dance and participated in every form available – ballet, Spanish and modern. At the age of thirteen she moved to a remote boarding school and was unable to continue with dancing. She became a teacher of children with dyslexia. After returning to England in 2000 she learned Italian, drove a bus as a tour guide, taught English as a foreign language and began to do voluntary work with children. She kept fit with every form of exercise from aerobics to Zumba. Miraculously in November 2014 she discovered Sage and was, at last, able to return to dance. Felicity is currently on a break and will be returning to Sage later this year.
Carol had been attending Saturday morning dance classes from age 7 to about 14 and had short spells doing contemporary dance in her twenties and thirties. Ballet was not available locally for the non-professional enthusiast of thirty plus and she only found ballet and contemporary dance in London in 2009 with Simona Scotto. She then discovered Simon Rice and his ballet choreography and joined Sage in 2010. She had to move away from London in 2015, but was delighted to be able to return to Sage DC in March 2016.
Bren auditioned for Sage Dance Company following appearances with Tanz Theater Wuppertal’s production of Pina Bausch’s ‘Nur Du’ at the Barbican in London in 2012. He has been a member of SAGE Dance Company since 2013. His main dance experience is with Argentine tango, and after spending three months in Buenos Aires in 2011 learning the basics he now dances in festivals, and socially, across Europe. He maintains a daily yoga and meditation practice.
After a taste of ballet at nursery school, Maggy only returned to dance in her late fifties with some Latin Dance at her local gym. This led to discovering a passion for Argentine Tango and, later, ballet. Through Open Age, in collaboration with English National Ballet’s ‘Dance for Health’ group, she performed 18th Century dances in ‘Court Whispering’ at the Royal Banqueting House and at Sadler’s Wells Elixir Festival (2014), and Akram Khan’s Big Dance in Trafalgar Square in 2016. She attends a Ballet4Life class in west London. Before dance took over much of her life, (she has twice served on the Olivier Awards Dance Panel), she had qualified as a barrister and had a civil service career, receiving a CBE in 2011 for her contribution to the administration of justice and to flexible working. A Trustee of Open Age, Vice-Patron of Working Families – and now amazingly a dancer, thrilled to have been accepted by Sage in February 2017 at the age of 65!
Cecil’s mother took him to his first ballet class when he was 8 years old. He danced in a reconstruction of Yvonne Rainer’s “Chair/Pillow” at London’s Toynbee Studios, appeared in the T-Mobile commercial shot at Liverpool Street Station and most recently worked with Rosemary Lee in a Dance Umbrella piece called “Square Dances”. Cecil has spent most of his working life as a producer/director in corporate television.
Teresa’s first professional appearance was at the age of 9 when she danced in Coppelia at Theatre Royal Nottingham with Beryl Grey’s Festival Ballet Company. After continuing training as an RAD ballet scholar she went on to the Royal Ballet School London, where amongst some of her teachers were Dame Ninette de Valois and Leonide Massine with whom she completed the Massine Choreography Diploma. She also assisted Rudolf Nureyev with rehearsals for his production of Nutcracker. After leaving RBS she joined Dortmund ballet before returning to London to train more thoroughly with Arlene Phillips, Mat Mattox and Jane Darling, and appearing in the original stage production of Evita. Her teaching life spans Guildford School of Acting, Elmhurst ballet school and London Studio Centre where she became Bridget Espinosa’s Assistant. She has also enjoyed a long career in films starting with Heaven’s Gate and recently in The Crown and Finding your Feet. Teresa appeared recently in Argentine Tango productions at the South Bank Festival.
Gilly won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dancing at the age of 11. Two years later she had the honour of being chosen to appear in the annual Gala hosted by her idol, the Academy’s patron, Margot Fonteyn, whom she had the honour of meeting before appearing in the performance at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, alongside many famous dancers from all over the world. A move to Germany in her twenties and a subsequent career in international marketing meant that it was not until 2007 that she returned to the world of dance, initially to take up ballet classes again. She danced with Counterpoint Dance from 2010-2013, joined Damn Fine Dance Company shortly thereafter, where she developed her contemporary skills. She was accepted to join Sage Dance Company under Simon Rice’s direction in February 2012.
As a child, Jean loved watching classic Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies on TV and dreamed of becoming a dancer. She attended ballet, tap and ‘modern’ classes regularly from the age of 7 and continued into her teens and twenties when she began working as a professional actor in theatre and television. Sadly, she never starred in a musical but her love of dance has never waned and, as a teacher of English and Drama, she directed and choreographed a number of shows for her young pupils. Since 1989 she has run her own small consultancy business specialising in leadership development and coaching. She has been dancing with Rambert’s Mercury Movers class for over 55s since 2013 and joined Sage Dance Company in January 2015. At the age of 63, she is delighted that her dreams of performing as a dancer have finally come true!
Richard Taylor made the video about Sage Dance Company in 2013. During a career spanning 25 years as a BBC producer he made 47 major documentary films in 61 countries, several of which won international awards. In 1989 he established his own independent company, Orpheus Productions, through which he continued to make programmes for the BBC, other broadcasters and also to work in the corporate sector. His work included a film in Ethiopia for the charity ‘SafeHands for Mothers’ supported by Band Aid. His last long-term project was in The Gambia. Before he died, he completed a film about the internationally-renowned violinist, Viktoria Mullova (Bath International Film Festival).
Tony Price is a filmmaker. He has spent much of his life making programmes explaining things to an audience of perhaps care home workers or nurses or car assembly-line workers. Now that he is mostly retired he has changed tack and started making documentaries. Filming people who are not remotely at your beck and call is fascinating and really difficult. He is relishing it.
Tom worked at the Sir Robert Peel pub in Camden and has been instrumental in organising two filming projects for Sage DC. The first was a film by Richard Taylor which includes footage of Sage DC at their regular Wednesday evening haunt. The second was filmed exclusively in the pub by Tony Price and Serena Nuttall. Sage are indebted to the kindness and co-operation of Tom, his staff and the regulars at the Sir Robert Peel pub.