DANCE ON, PASS ON, DREAM ON is a four-year Creative Europe-funded cooperation project addressing ageism in the dance sector and in society. 11 renowned European dance institutions are working towards a Europe where older dancers are valued for their experience and charisma, where our common European dance heritage is cherished and serves to inspire younger artists, and where older people are respected and engage in meaningful, creative activities.
The project builds on the previous DANCE ON, PASS ON, DREAM ON project (2016–2019), which was developed by a core group of 9 organisations as a long-term action plan against age discrimination in dance. Ageism is still widespread in our society. A 2018 report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights goes as far as saying that “the enjoyment of all human rights diminishes with age”, due to negative narratives that cast older people as "burdens" on society or the economy. Professional dancers suffer from even more extreme forms of ageism and are generally expected to retire from their performing careers around the age of 40.
DANCE ON – A Europe of ageless movement
We are working to make dance a sustainable career choice in Europe. The Dance On Ensemble, an inspirational flagship company for dancers over 40, demonstrates that it is possible to change entrenched attitudes in the dance sector. The ensemble is at the heart of the project, creating new works, touring, and collaborating with all the project partners. In addition, the project provides professional and employment opportunities for dancers over 40 in all 13 participating countries.
PASS ON – A Europe that values its dance heritage
Dance works are difficult to document and exist primarily in the form of embodied memories. They rely on transmission from person to person, body to body. We are drawing attention to the fragility and intangible nature of dance history and practice by restaging lost dance works and commissioning contemporary artists to “reply” to them. In the process, we are also revealing the important role of older dancers as carriers and guardians of intangible cultural and embodied knowledge.
DREAM ON – A Europe where every body matters
Dancing is a powerful source of wellbeing for everyone, including the most fragile. By building on and expanding the participatory dance projects and creative ageing initiatives developed during the first Dance On, Pass On, Dream On project, we are revealing the wealth of experience and competence of this age group. Together we are asking ourselves: How do we value age and experience? And how do we want to live when we are old?