The Holland Dance Festival is delighted with the news that Creative Europe of the European Union has honoured the four-year follow-up to Dance On, Pass On, Dream On.

The consortium Dance On, Pass On, Dream On (DOPODO), consisting of 11 renowned European dance institutions, has come together to tackle the problem of age discrimination in the dance sector and in society. The 11 participating organisations are working together towards a Europe where older dancers are valued for their experience, charisma and where our common European dance heritage is cherished! The co-funding by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union is a huge recognition.

Samuel Wuersten: “I am very pleased that Holland Dance Festival through Dance On, Pass On, Dream On can continue to make a strong case for older professional dancers and other older dancers in our society by partnering with important international dance partners in Europe”.

Dance for older people
The Holland Dance Festival has been advocating the position of older dancing for years. It is in the DNA of our festival by enriching its programming with performances in which older dancers take centre stage. Holland Dance Festival programmed such big names as Sylvie Guillem, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mats Ek, Ana Laguna and, until its closure in 2006, of course, many high-profile productions by NDT 3. Holland Dance Festival also produced its own productions for older dancers such as Last Touch First by Jiří Kylián and Queen Lear by Michael Schumacher. In 2015 the Dance On Ensemble in Berlin was founded, a company for older dancers, which draws attention to artistic qualities that can only develop with age. Holland Dance Festival presented the Dutch debut of Dance On in 2016 as well as the second production in the 2018 festival. At the same time, Holland Dance Festival also joined the large-scale European project DOPODO, Dance On, Pass On, Dream On set up by Dance On.

Increasing visibility for the older professional dancer also gave rise to the social activities of the Holland Dance Festival. Driven by our concerns about the increasing ageing of the population and the growing loneliness among the elderly, we make every effort to allow the elderly to be vital for longer and to contribute to more connection and social contacts, both between older people and between different age groups. Dance knows no language barriers, removes social differences and helps people to express themselves, even where words cannot (or no longer) do so. Dance provides fun and relaxation and can contribute to feelings of freedom and happiness.

Holland Dance Festival has been very active for a number of years in making a connection between art/dance and the care sector. To this end, we work closely together with Zorggroep Florence in The Hague, where we organise dance classes for vulnerable elderly people in various homes in Florence. In addition, since 2014 we organize Good [old] Times for vital elderly people aged 55+. The Good [old] Times participants follow a dance course that culminates in an informal presentation. In addition, every two years a production is made with a professional choreographer and a production is made for older amateur dancers. During our 2016 and 2018 festivals Good [old] Times: My tasteful life and Good [old] Times: Into my arms both premiered, the first of which was also performed in London, at the special invitation of the prestigious British Sadler’s Wells Theatre. For this year’s edition, titled Luna, the selected elderly collaborated with urban choreographer Junadry Leocaria. All Good [old] Times productions were enthusiastically received by participants, press and audience. All Good [old] Times activities are also supported by the Kylian Foundation. In the upcoming editions of the Holland Dance Festival, the only international dance biennial in the Netherlands, more performances will be presented that focus on the older dancer.