Monthly Archives: February 2017

Breakin’ Convention’s Future Elements

Every year Breakin’ Convention’s Future Elements youth project looks for aspiring dancers, film makers, MCs, aerosol artists, music producers, costume designers and set designers aged 13-16 years to create a music video with guidance from some of the coolest and most inspirational professional hip hop artists including BC’s very own Jonzi D.

Future Elements takes place during the February half term and is always packed with energy, ideas, passion and skills – this year’s was no exception. To have 22 young people show up at 10am on a Sunday morning and commit to working hard (and having fun!) every day of the week with people they have never met was refreshing and emphasises the profound power of hip hop!

Over the course of the week the participants worked with five mentors to come up with an original idea for a music video and create all the elements from scratch. They pitched ideas and TIME & SPACE was the common thread. This led to the groups working with our rap and music producer mentors to create two tracks for the dance group to create choreography for. The graffiti group created all the props, costumes and sets needed for the music video and worked closely with our filmmaker to storyboard and film it around Sadler’s Wells. By the end of the week the young people, from different boroughs across London, had made new friends and learnt a range of new skills! They are now looking forward to seeing the music video premiered at the Future Elements evening on Saturday 18 March where we invite young dance crews and rappers to perform as part of the night.

Join us for Future Elements: sadlerswells.com/future-elements-night


Parents Testimonials

“Just wanted to say a big thank you for the project and experience Chaniya-rose gained over the half term. She was truly in her element as the amazing young lady that she is and I feel the project suited her perfectly.” Charmaine

“Thank you to everyone involved in the Future elements week, Ashley had a great time and made so many friends.” Lisa

“Akida absolutely loved the workshop. He learnt so much and got huge enjoyment from attending. So a massive thank you to you and all the team for such a great initiative.” Laura

“Thank you so much for allowing the girls to participate in the music video. They are really enjoying it there and working with your team.” Bliss Family


Young people Testimonials

“Nothing could be better” Age 16, Tower Hamlets

“I enjoyed meeting new people and working with new people” Age 14, Haringey

“Working with a unique group and trying something new” Age 15, Lewisham

Meet dancer and choreographer Aakash Odedra

Dancer and choreographer Aakash Odedra returns to Sadler’s Wells with his own company to present an evening of theatre and Kathak dance in the Lilian Baylis Studio this March. We talked to the man himself about the evolution of his work and the double bill he is presenting.

Tell us about your style of dance and what it means to you.
I was trained in classical dance and Kathak dance. Now that I’m in the West I’d like to speak a language that relates to the West through movement. I incorporate both classical and contemporary styles. And I would say my main aim is to use the essence of the East and the presentation and aesthetic of the West in my style of dance. The most important thing to me is that the work is not restricted by geographical boundaries. Because, if you think about it, change is the only constant. The form is ever-evolving and I want to change with it.

Can you tell us a bit about the pieces you will be performing? What should the audience expect to see onstage?
Echoes is choreographed by Aditi Mangaldas and I, Imagine is a collaboration with poet, Sabrina Mahfouz. Echoes is an epic presentation, embodying the spirit of Kathak dance. I would describe it as very polished and almost godly, yet it still forges toward a different direction from very traditional Indian dance.

I Imagine is much more down to earth and relevant. It’s a story about you and I and what happens on that journey. There is a twist of humour to it and in a way I’m trying to convey a very serious message through humour and theatricality.

I Imagine is a more theatrical piece with other artistic elements, what does it feel like to perform?
Yes, it definitely is. There is a part of me that people don’t get to see. So often the dancer is silent onstage, and art is a medium of communication. I want to be able to use different mediums, whether it’s dance, theatre, music, to express this story of immigrants. In order to speak about this I tap into so many different outlooks on life, in particular I use theatre to access the older generation. For many years I’ve been itching to use tools that are more organic, like theatre – it’s much more vocal and physical which is deeply rooted in Indian culture.

I use masks in this piece – each with a unique voice. I take inspiration from my grandfather’s time, coming to this country knowing nothing and having to start from scratch. And for many immigrants of his generation, towards the end of their lives they wanted to go home to their roots. The piece is about that journey and finding your way back to your Mother country. I dedicated I, Imagine to my father.

What was it like working with such established choreographers like Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Russell Maliphant?
They say ignorance is bliss – that was really the case here! I didn’t really know how famous they were as choreographers. I mean they’re all Associate Artists of Sadler’s Wells. People would say, “You’re working with THEM? That’s amazing!” But I didn’t think anything of it – I was quite naïve at the time. Thinking back, this was the best way to go into it. Had I known how massive they were it would have been different. I wasn’t trained in contemporary dance at this point, so it was kind of my university in contemporary dance, if you will. I knew it was a risk for them to take me on, and because they were choreographing for me I knew I had to make them proud.

What are you most looking forward to about performing at Sadler’s Wells?
It’s a huge honour to perform at Sadler’s Wells. The last time I performed here was during the Svapngata Festival in 2009, which was curated by Akram Khan. I feel like I’ve grown so much since then, as a person and as an artist. A big part of my work is sharing my journey with the audience, and my biggest hope is that people can see the difference from where I was and where I am now.

Finally, what message do you want the audience to take away from your piece?
Both pieces are so different. I hope the audience connects with them. South Asian dance is now a part of the country we live in.

You can see Aakash Odedra Company – Echoes and I Imagine, at Sadler’s Wells’ Lilian Baylis Studio on Thursday 9 and Friday 10 March, 8pm.
Tickets available here: sadlerswells.com/aakashodedra

Second Hand Dance – Getting Dressed

Second Hand Dance’s choreographer Rosie Heafford writes about the inspiration and development process for children’s show Getting Dressed, coming to the Lilian Baylis Studio 18 and 19 February. 

“Getting Dressed is a work that started from me watching other shows, well, the pre & post show. I watched the acrobatic sketches revealed when audiences were asked to take their shoes and socks off, and the meticulous ordering when school groups arranged taking their coats on and off.

It reminded me that when I was small I had to learn how to get dressed, that as an adult I take for granted this simple act of choosing and wearing clothes every day. Through these observations of others, I also noticed quite a few things that I thought would make a good show. So that was my starting point; how many ways are there to take clothes on and off?

This initial idea quickly developed, as ideas like these do. I was intrigued by fabric, worlds of textures and clothes; the sculptures of Derick Melander and countless other artist-designers; the sounds of zips and ripping fabrics; the gendering of clothes and how we present part of our identity through them; the world of children’s garments and the commercial split between girls (pink) and boys (blue); the online campaign of Let Clothes Be Clothes, and the multiple throwing, sliding, and jumping games that can be found with clothes.

Getting dressed by yourself is a huge milestone as a child; it shows independence, technical capability, maturity and the identity we choose to present to the wider world. Made for 4–7 year olds and their families Getting Dressed subtly challenges the conventions, peer pressures and popular culture influences children encounter when starting school. I would like to encourage everyone, big and small to be playful with the clothes they wear.

Getting Dressed is approximately 40 minutes long (no interval) and will be performed by 3 dancers. These live performers are gradually joined by a colourful array of clothes and fabrics that slowly fill the stage to create textured shapes and sculptures. The narrative will follow the dancers exploration of playing with different costumes and fabrics, changing what they wear multiple times, to an ending where the audience are invited to play with the clothes themselves and experiment with what they might like to wear.”

Find out more about Getting Dressed: sadlerswells.com/whats-on

Find out more about Let Clothes Be Clothes: letclothesbeclothes.uk