Grace, vitality, physical wisdom, and a myriad of life experiences dwell in the bodies of older dancers. A lifetime of living, our personal journeys through the ups and downs of life, the many varied landscapes we have inhabited – through the power of experience the older dancer has many stories to tell and something very special to offer.
Making work that celebrates the unique attributes of the older dancer – both professional and community. Striking Attitude provides a platform and performance opportunities for older dancers.
Artistic Director & Choreographer
Passion, beauty, mystery, mortality – an operatic view of the world. My work is larger than life and asks the big questions. Imagery, structure, spirituality and the drama and journey of an idea are always important. My starting points are many – – words, paintings, music, a juxtaposition of images, sometimes just a fleeting gesture.
“Lamb displays an obvious talent for narrative dance and a fine sense of theatre.” Dance and Dancers – ‘Grinning Jack’ for Dance Wales
I am a freelance director, choreographer and contemporary dancer with a wealth of experience in pure dance, opera, theatre, tv and film. I trained at Dartington College of Arts, Devon, as both a dancer and actor. In my choreographic work, I like to blur the boundaries between art forms with a complex meshing together of theatre, contemporary movement and the spoken word. I love working with dancers who act and actors who dance. My work has been seen throughout the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
In recent years, I have discovered a passion for film making and have created three dance films, all shot in the dramatic landscapes of Wales; Remains To Be Seen, Footfalls and The Cedar Tree. These have been shown throughout the UK – Sadler’s Wells, London for the Elixir Festival and The Older Dancer Conference, the Laban International Conference, London, Dance Base, Edinburgh for the Luminate Festival, Hay on Wye for the Festival of British Cinema, Gwanwyn Festival, Cardiff, Wales Dance Symposium and Wales Dance Platform, Cardiff and Dublin Dance Centre.
Choreography has always been a driving force for me. During my early career working as a dancer, and also as an actor and presenter, I initiated and ran Dance Wales, a dance co-operative, open to all Wales based dance trained freelancers, project funded by the Arts Council of Wales, and offering opportunities for choreographers to develop their craft, and for dancers to perform.
I founded Striking Attitudes initially as a vehicle for my own work and created many Arts Council Wales funded dance -theatre works culminating in the large-scale 2005 work, Three Parts Iced Over, a multi- generational piece using trained and untrained dancers, aged 7 to 70. The starting point was society’s obsession with youth and lack of regard for age. As I became older myself, I saw how little opportunity there was for older dancers to continue to perform, be visible and have a voice and place in the dance hierarchy. My work with Striking Attitudes now focuses on changing that.
Striking Attitudes is about celebrating the older dancer, trained and untrained and about challenging preconceptions of what age has to look like. The mature dancer may have less stamina and flexibility but I believe years of living and life stories make for potent and emotionally energised performances. I believe movement and moving is life enhancing. Using our bodies creatively is freeing and one of the best ways of communicating our inner selves – who we are and what we want to say – to the world.
In 1971 Ballet Rambert delivered a workshop at my school. I was twelve. The company’s work was breaking new ground, touring contemporary dance and maintaining Marie Rambert’s ethos of developing the innovation and individuality of her dancers. I was already doing regular ballet lessons but here I was given my first real opportunity to find my own dancing voice. With hindsight, this is the point at which the seeds of my future career were sown.
During my time at Arts Educational Schools I was selected to join the student performance group ‘Dancers Anonymous’, this provided regular performance opportunities, including runs at 3 Edinburgh Festivals, plus access to valuable choreographic and collaborative encounters. It shaped my thinking.
My early career was in short projects and freelance work resulting in me turning down a full time job with Jumpers Dance Theatre, the forerunner of National Dance Company Wales, choosing instead an independent route which allowed all aspects of my passion for dance to be fully explored. This decision was fed by my growing understanding that freedom of expression and creativity are vital for a healthy life. I found personal validation in performance work but this was matched by the rewards of community and teaching work. My subsequent career has therefore encompassed a variety of strands ranging from elite performance of cutting-edge choreography through opera, mixed media theatre and commercial dance work to delivery of formal education syllabi and community work incorporating participants ranging in age from four to eighty-seven.
The opportunity for personal expression and pursuit of excellence is what motivates me. The dance must come from a point of truth and fully engage the emotions of the audience.
These values are informed from the perspective of an independent performer but are a comfortable match across the professional, community, and educational work I now deliver. This work enables me to maintain my own need to work creatively, whilst simultaneously inspiring and supporting aspiring young dancers to move forward to full-time training, and also having the opportunity to work creatively with older people, with a personal understanding of their aging physicality. The embodied life experience we each hold within us is life-affirming in its honesty and beauty, older dancers need increased recognition for their contribution to the art form.
Aleksandra Nikolajev Jones
Aleksandra (Nikolajev) Jones is Choreographer, Dancer, Director and Producer.
Aleksandra produced for theatre, television, and film. Working with new talents, mentoring, and coaching she is also working with international and local choreographers, directors, writers, filmmakers, dancers, and companies.
She is a founder and co-director of Wales International Documentary Festival and member of International Dance Council-CID recognised by UNESCO.
Aleksandra is working with professionals, communities, minorities and vulnerable groups to deliver projects that empowered through participative art.
Aleksandra is the author of the Women In Pregnancy, born out of a 2012 pilot project funded by the Arts Council of Wales. The piece offers a new way of looking at the effect pregnancy has on movement, gravity, and even a woman’s career and creativity.