When I grow up I want to dance with the Company of Elders. Described by Sadler's Wells as the "jewel" in their community programme, this group of 25 performers - all over the age of 60 - sparkles like a highly polished diamond. This ensemble is packed with personalities, as they take to the stage with three works by Seeta Patel, Ashley Shaw and Michaela Meazza.

© Foteini Christofilopoulou
© Foteini Christofilopoulou

A roll of thunder introduces Fragments, Not Forgotten choreographed by Patel. The dancers move en masse, shimmying across the floor. They pause, swaying gently to the strains of a solo violin. Their arms reach upwards, slowly tickling the air with their fingers. Patel draws on a treasure trove of memories to shape the gestures and patterns. This piece has deep roots, nourished by the performers' own histories. It has delicacy and sophistication. Patel evokes a wealth of emotion without clawing sentimentality - this is a beautifully danced, finely balanced work.  

In a similar vein, Echoes explores a spectrum of human feelings. Shaw - with her background in Hip-Hop and Parkour - interjects a sense of playfulness. Hops and skips evoke childhood games. A peck on the cheek sparks a round of kiss chase, and a reference to Grandmother's Footsteps takes me straight back to my old school playground. Shaw captures a genuine sense of warmth and affection between the dancers. Echoes charts a course from vulnerability and longing to a series of joyful encounters.

Meazza's Glory Days is the perfect finale. The Elders don brightly coloured scarves and indulge their passion for all things football. They recreate dirty tackles and feigned injuries on the pitch, alongside the agony and ecstasy of the fans in the stands. Behind the fun is a technical piece of choreography. There's a lot going, gestures are passed between the cast, and the space is buzzing with bodily conversations. The dancers share weight, support balances and use the floor. Meazza's choreography is not for the faint-hearted. This is – excuse the sporting pun – a genuine team effort. The ensemble pay close attention to each interaction and their timing is exact. Most importantly, their enjoyment is palpable and bubbles over into onstage laughter at the final blackout.

Interspersed with the live performances are four dance films, all winning entries from the Joie De Vivre competition - a project by Pavilion Dance, South West to celebrate and promote older dancers. Of particular note, It's Only Ever Now by Molly Wright and Damn Fine Dance is an edgy, charged piece of choreography . Set to the rapid-fire vocabulary of spoken word poet Kate Tempest, it explores identity and place. The juxtaposition of older performers responding to the guttural cry of a younger artist is a powerful one. A call across the generations to search out and fight for one's passions.

Winner of the documentary category is Move About It by Yama Dance Company based in Bath. Four woman talk with their voices and their bodies about what dancing means to them. It is an intimate portrait of self discovery and expression.

We mistakenly assume that dance is the preserve of the young. The current fashion for eye-watering agility within elite companies reinforces an idea that dancers are somehow super human, taking the pleasure of "doing dance" beyond the grasp of us pigeon-toed mortals. The Company of Elders happily challenges this narrow interpretation of what performed movement can bring to an audience, reconnecting us to the humanity of dance and its intimate relationship to our lived experiences. They will be performing again at the Elixir Festival in June 2017. In the meantime, I'm going to get my name on a waiting list to join this merry band of movers.