Celebrating UN International Day of Older Persons

Today is UN International Day of Older Persons. One of the objectives of the event is to challenge perceptions about older people.

Here, Jane Mooney, retired professional dancer and co-creator of our new film installation Epilogue reflects on age in an industry obsessed with youth.

“The older woman is no longer valued as vibrant. She is diminished by her loss of fertility, negative views of the menopause and her lack of perceived sexuality. She is reduced and increasingly invisible. Epilogue is about the potential of older bodies to express life’s experiences and embrace a sense of renewal.

I wanted to find a pathway back to moving again and finding the real pleasure that dance brings. This is what this project did. Older women dancing is not seen very often and opportunities to be involved in a professional project are very rare. I was taken by surprise when choreographer Eileen McClory asked me but before I worked out all the reasons why I should not do it, I found myself saying ‘yes’ and I love the opportunity to work as part of an artistic team.

At the back of my mind I was concerned about what I could do now being older, but I also knew Eileen and how she worked, that it would be a rewarding experience and I would be able to work within my limits without judgement. Eileen builds movement material very sensitively with her dancers. As Epilogue was about older performers, she saw the opportunity to celebrate the lived-in body rather than make it try to copy what we were in our youth.”

Epilogue screens from 11-13 October at Flax Art Studios, Havelock House, Ormeau Road, as part of Belfast International Arts Festival.

This free event is now booked out.