An interview with Damn Fine Dance Co-Director Molly Wright

We are delighted to announce that Damn Fine Dance will be joining forces with Creative Dance London as our first performing company, working with dancers over the age of 60. DFD and CDL both share the same values and we are so excited to see what the future holds with the two combined. Together we hope to change the face of community dance.

Damn Fine Dance challenges the stereotypes associated with older dancers. The performers are presented as equally vibrant, courageous and exuberant as any other dance company, regardless of age or experience. The dancers are empowered not only to perform set choreography but to engage creatively throughout the process. The company shines a light on this generation, encouraging honesty, integrity and curiosity. 

We caught up with Molly Wright, who co-directs the company alongside Luke Birch. 

Molly trained at Trinity Laban graduating with a degree in Dance Theatre in 2008. She has since worked as a freelance artist across both London and the UK. Molly has vast experience working in community settings, especially with groups of adults over the age of 60. 


What inspired you to want to work with older dancers?

‘Looking back, I can pinpoint a few moments that sparked the joy of working with older dancers. For my final piece when I was training at Trinity Laban, I created a site-specific dance film that my Nan was a part of and I really enjoyed working with her. When I graduated in 2008, I explored working with people of all ages as a freelancer and saw firsthand the positive impact dance and the performing arts can have on people of any age, which is both profound and lifelong. It was in 2012 when I worked on an intergenerational project and particularly loved working with the over 60’s groups that were involved. In the creative process, I found they brought such interesting life experiences and generosity which are things that are crucial to creating work that has integrity.

As an age group, they’re willing to offer their authentic selves. They’re at a stage where they’re willing to try anything, prepared to be honest, and choreographically I find they have a lot to give, despite not being trained - whether that be stories, opinions, views - they’re not afraid to voice what they’re thinking and feeling. It’s a nice comfortable atmosphere, they really know themselves and what they like so they can focus on the things they love doing. This is why I love working with older dancers.’

Can you describe your most special memory with Damn Fine Dance? 

‘There are many highlights, such as performing at the Sadler’s Wells Elixr Festival, but winning 2nd place in the Dance On Film festival was particularly special. We embarked on an unknown journey to create a dance film having no experience, no budget and we actually filmed the choreography in a local pub! I never imagined we would win anything, but I was really proud of Damn Fine Dance for creating a strong and inspiring piece and being awarded 2nd place. It was such a great experience. It went on to be showcased at Dance East, Sadler’s Wells and it’s been performed live too.’

Watch the film:

What are you most excited about for the future of Damn Fine Dance and Creative Dance London?

‘Creative Dance London is striving to show that dance really is for everyone, regardless of age or ability. With Damn Fine Dance, I wanted to create a dance company which I would be happy to be in myself, never patronising and never making work ‘for older people’. I want it to be challenging - not necessarily about technique - but if I wouldn’t perform in it then I wouldn’t ask them to either. It is exciting to see stereotypes being challenged and the demand for a more inclusive dance industry is increasing. Dance can improve confidence, improve people’s sense of wellbeing and create new friendships. These things are essential at any age. I am delighted to be joining forces with Creative Dance London as we share the same ethos, and I am excited to see how we shape the future of community dance.’

Do you want to join Damn Fine Dance?

Two FREE taster sessions are taking place on the 15th and 22nd October 2021. If you would like to join, email us ([email protected]) expressing your interest and we will send you everything you need to know and do to be part of the next cohort of Damn Fine Dancers.

Deadline is 12pm on 5th October.

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Imagining the future with Mark Shayler