Elixir Festival 2017

Meet Fran Landsman
Ahead of this year’s Elixir Festival, which celebrates lifelong creativity and the contribution of older artists, we caught up with dancer and film maker Fran Landsman to find out what makes her move.

How did you get in to dance?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to dance, but as a child it was more jiving with the curtains as a partner than plies and jetes. As an adult I was always first on the floor at parties, but I was too busy with my work as a film maker to actually try a dance class. Then I made a film for the ‘Imagine’ strand on the BBC about the Company of Elders. It was a joy to spend time with them and I knew that when I hit 60 I’d love to find something similar near where I live in Bath. It took me six years, and then I read an article about a company called Yama. I was there like a shot and it has become an enormous joy in my life.

What makes you want to keep dancing?
It’s good for the spirit. It makes me happy. It’s good for my health. It’s fun to perform. And I dance with the best bunch of women ever.

Who is your biggest inspiration?
Anna Heighway – our teacher who puts up with a large group of women who all think they know best. She is patient with our lousy memories and various aches and pains, and she manages to get the best out of us, whilst enabling us to have fun as well. Sylvie Guillem, Carlos Acosta and Pina Bausch are also huge inspirations.

What would you say to someone who thought dancers should retire at 35?
It’s not a matter of retiring. It’s wonderful to see young people dancing. It’s also wonderful to see old people dancing, but it’s not the same. There’s no reason at all to retire from something you love, you just do it differently.

What will you be performing at the Elixir Festival?
It’s a piece called Grandma’s Hands. It’s about our stories – of the past, the present and the future. And it’s also about how our hands express these stories. In fact they express everything we experience, from cooking to cuddling, and everything in between.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into dance later in life?

The Elixir Festival is at Sadler’s Wells from 23 – 27 June. Click here for more information.