Theatre Review: Growing Older (Dis)Gracefully Dance: Coming Of Age, Unity Theatre, Liverpool

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               Image Source: Unity Theatre

Written By: Lauren Bell

Format: Dance Show
Genre: Dance
Date: June 12 2018
Location: Unity Theatre, Liverpool

Growing Old (Dis)Gracefully (GODS) was formed in 1997, when Liverpool City Council ran a huge incentive to get over-50s active. The group secured funding, and commissioned many local dance teachers to make work for the group. Over the years, the group produced many different dance pieces, and were invited to perform in many places. As well as creating dance performance pieces, they were also granted funding to make some dance films at IM Marsh University campus. In 2002, their first mini-film Framed was launched, and it was this promotion that helped build the group from only eight dancers to over twenty. As a group, they have travelled far and wide to perform, with the help of Arts Council funding, as well as making another mini-film in the ground of Speke Hall.

This performance at Unity Theatre is to commemorate 21 years of the company. With an almost sold-out audience, and also with the Lord Mayor and Chancellor of Liverpool in attendance, it was surely to be an outstanding show.

The show itself contained eleven dance pieces, all telling a different story, and each one relating to different periods of the company. All of the dance numbers kept the audience’s attention from start to finish, and it was clear to see that a lot of rehearsal has gone into this. As a dance teacher myself, I understand the challenges of having to get a number looking ‘clean’ onstage, and I was pleased to see that all the ladies in the group were spot on with the choreography, all in sync with each other, and all smiling throughout.

A lot of the numbers were choreographed a long time ago, and have been revamped for this show. In fact, some of the ladies who were in the first original number were also in it here!

The women in the group are a mixture of all levels, some being ex-dancers and some who were complete beginners when starting! It was nice to see these talents all blend into one on the stage, with no-one being stuck at the back all the time and everyone having their turn at the front.

It was also nice to have some interludes between the dances, where they showed the two films they have made on a projector at the back of the stage, or where company members gave tribute to some of their choreographers and friends who have sadly passed now.

It was lovely to just see all the ladies having a good time on stage and enjoying themselves. In fact, the lady sat next to me told me she was an ex-member, and said that the age range of ladies on the stage was between 60-88, so these women must definitely be commended for their bravery and determination. Even when a few tiny mistakes were made, the ladies carried on with smiles on their faces, and with a rapturous applause by their family and friends in the audience, it was clear to see why!

Their love of dance was clear from the start, and these ladies are not in it for the publicity, or wanting to get further with it; they are clearly there for their love of dance, and the friends that they have made from the group.

It would be lovely to see these ladies continue with the company, and I was also given a leaflet to say they are looking for new members. So, if any over-50s are interested in dance, they should definitely go along, and join a group where it doesn’t matter how good or bad you are; you just have to have a love for the arts.

Overall Rating: 8/10 – Very Good