Monthly Archives: October 2017

Sadler’s Wells participates in Japan conference on how art benefits the elderly

Sadler’s Wells staff and members of our Company of Elders discussed how the arts benefit the over 60s at an international conference in Japan in September. The four-day World Gold Theater Kickoff symposium at the Saitama Arts Theater featured workshops and panel discussions with performers and speakers from Japan and the UK, who shared programming and best practice, as well as exploring the role of ageing communities in the arts. Besides Sadler’s Wells, other UK organisations in attendance included London’s performing arts centre the Albany and Entelechy Arts, a participatory arts company working with older people from diverse communities.

Our Director of Learning and Engagement Joce Giles, Lucy Clarke-Bishop, Projects Producer in the Learning and Engagement team, three members of our Company of Elders – Betsy Field, Chris Havell and Catriona Maccoll – and the company’s rehearsal director Simona Scotto gave a presentation on Sadler’s Wells’ over-60s programme. They shared an overview of our work with the Company of Elders, our outreach activities, including the Silver Routes community group, and the Elixir Festival, which celebrates lifelong creativity and the achievements of older dance artists. Joce also took part in a panel discussion alongside David Slater, director of Entelechy Arts, which was chaired by Yoshiyuki Oshita, chief director of the Center For Arts Policy and Management for Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting. The debate looked at how theatres’ future programmes could focus on creative opportunities for elderly people.

Simona led a Company of Elders’ taster session and three introductory dance workshops designed for the local over-60 community in Saitama. There were 20-30 participants in each workshop, who were given the chance to learn introductory dance skills and some of the Company of Elders repertoire.

Sadler’s Wells’ relationship with Saitama Arts Theater is a long-term one, centred on a shared vision of connecting older audiences with dance. The Japanese theatre’s late artistic director, Yukio Ninagawa, founded Saitama Gold Theater, an over-55 theatre company that has been performing and touring internationally since its inception in 2006. Saitama Arts Theater has also been involved in ambitious community engagement: in 2016 it delivered the 10,000 Gold Theater project, which saw 1,600 professional and non-professional performers over 60 from the local community perform a new production at Saitama Super Arena.

We were thrilled to be able to discuss how arts and culture can contribute to elderly people’s mental and physical wellbeing with international colleagues. We look forward to continuing our work with the Saitama Arts Theater and other like-minded organisations to support and promote lifelong creativity worldwide.

To find out more about Company of Elders, visit the website

Pepa Ubera and Josefina Camus discuss their production Ellipsis Land

London-based dancers and choreographers Pepa Ubera (a current participant in Sadler’s Wells Summer University programme) and Josefina Camus will team up to present their show Ellipsis Land at the Lilian Baylis Studio in November. We spoke to them about how the piece explores the body’s relationship with technology, and the transformative journey it has taken them on.

What inspired you to create Ellipsis Land?

Josefina Camus: The relationship between the body and technology, the real architecture and the “digital architecture”, the connections we create interacting with the different screens we use in our daily life. Those ideas mobilised our interrogations about how we pay attention to the architecture of the space and the body.

Pepa Ubera: A few years ago when we started using so much technology, I was wondering how the body will behave now that we have this ongoing relationship with the virtual world. I had a desire to look at our experience of the real world now we are confronted so often with the flatness of the screen (phone, computers). If the self was living through this flatness how was the body behaving and how was the nervous system then connecting with the technological world, creating all these invisible architectures .

Can you tell us a bit about the piece, what does it feel like to perform?

J.C: Performing Ellipsis Land makes me travel to different states, in that it concerns the organisation of the body in the space. I experience the dimensions and volume of the body, in that way my body becomes a sculpture, with different planes, angles and dimensions to be perceived.

The other important element of performing this piece is the different energies we explore. We wanted to highlight the body as container of energy, which sends and receives energy.

P.U: It feels like a transformative journey. We have been studying the body almost in a geometrical way. Looking at how it is to occupy a flat space and slowly start using more volume until we are able to energise the self as a container of energy that can connect with the audience and the architecture of the room where things take place.

How has the piece changed since its inception?

J.C: Ellipsis Land is a continuous performance project that started in 2014. It has been shown throughout its different stages of development. The first version was performed at Limen Festival, TripSpace Projects in collaboration with the Hayward Gallery, London, in October 2014. In 2016 it was shown at the Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells. The latest version was shown in March at BMW TATE Live Exhibition: TEN DAYS SIX NIGHTS, at Tate Modern, London.

Each performance is unique as it evolves from the last one through on-going research. This new version of Ellipsis Land is is an evolution of our concepts, choreographic material, sound and visual ideas.

One important aspect of this piece is the relationship with the architecture. So, specially the last part of the piece is an exploration of the architecture of the place where we are performing, in the Tate. We used the morphology of the tanks, at the Lilian Baylis Studio we explore the details of this theatre highlighting their particularity.

The piece features a score by Simone Salvatici, can you tell us a bit the creative process of working together?

J.C: Working with Simone added a very important aspect of the piece, the sound and the vibration that surround us are fundamental to it.

With Simone we share ideas and concepts that we can then use as choreographic tools. In this sense we share concepts and we use them differently: Simone in the creation of sound, and for us, the creation of movements.

This piece highlights the auditory perception, we can say that Ellipsis Land is a dance performance, a concert and a visual exhibition at the same time. We combine different medias to create an experience that involves the different senses.

P.U: The first time Simone came into the process we were a month away from the performance. Back then we did not have the time we would have liked to collaborate. That was in 2016 and since then the three of us have been working in two different processes. But earlier this year for the performance at Tate Modern and the last month again for the premiere of the full length performance, we have had time together to collaborate and discuss the concept and the processes each of us experience. Now it feels like a collaboration between artists from different fields, which is what we were looking for in this piece.

What’s next for you?

J.C: We will show Ellipsis Land in different venues, and we are planning a tour for South America for next year.  We want to begin a new collaborative project as well.

Ellipsis Land, by Pepa Ubera and Josefina Camus, will be performed 2-4 November at the Lilian Baylis Studio. You can book tickets here

Community dance group and NYDC alumni create piece inspired by Lyon Opera Ballet show

If you are coming to see Trois Grandes Fugues by Lyon Opera Ballet at Sadler’s Wells on 20 October, make sure to arrive early to catch a special performance by community dance group Silver Routes and alumni of National Youth Dance Company.

Silver Routes meet weekly at the St Luke’s Centre in Islington and are part of Sadler’s Wells’ outreach programme for over 60s, while NYDC is one of the artist development programmes we run to nurture the next generation of talent. Both projects are part of our Learning and Engagement work, which aims to make dance accessible to all and to inspire new and existing audiences, young people and communities by connecting them with dance and our programme.

The curtain raiser ahead of Trois Grandes Fugues sees 21 dancers from Silver Routes and alumni of NYDC collaborate on a thought-provoking piece inspired by the Lyon Opera Ballet production. Similarly to the three pieces in the programme, it responds to Beethoven’s Grande Fugue op.133. The work has been choreographed by Catarina Carvalho, a former dancer with Company Wayne McGregor.

This is a joint initiative between Sadler’s Wells and Dance Umbrella, an international dance festival celebrating 21st-Century choreography by presenting dance across the capital, including the performances of Trois Grandes Fugues on our stage.

The intergenerational project aims to bring together dancers of different backgrounds to create work in response to our artistic programme. There are two opportunities to watch this piece, at 6:45 and 7pm on the Mezzanine level, before the Lyon Opera Ballet show begins.

We hope you enjoy it!

In conversation with Ivan Putrov, the Man in Motion

We spoke to international Ballet superstar Ivan Putrov about Men in Motion, his latest production exploring the changing role of the male dancer. Ivan tells us all about the challenges of producing and performing and gives us an insight into what we can expect.

Tell us a bit about Men in Motion and how it began?

Men in Motion began as an idea to showcase the development of the man in dance over the last century up to the present day and as part of that to work with some of truly best dancers of today, an equivalent of 3 tenors in opera if you like.

With full backing of this idea from Alistair Spalding, the Artistic Director of Sadler’s Wells, Men in Motion started dancing for the first time in January 2012.

The evening programme features classical ballet works such as Fokine’s Le Spectre de las Rose alongside contemporary work by Russell Maliphant and Arthur Pita, how did you decide which pieces to include in the programme?

I am looking for balance in showing the retrospective of the man’s development in dance. As Artistic Director of the project, I am excited about using great pieces of the choreography from the past and finding them the perfect match of a dancer (or the other way around sometimes as dancers ask to perform rare pieces) but also to commission new works and be inside (as a spectator) of the creative process.. It’s like a dream of a fan living out his fantasy. How do I choose? I rely on my inner fan instincts.

How did you decide which dancers to approach to be part of Men in Motion?

Keeping the idea of the best male dancers I have been honoured by those who have participated: Daniel Proietto, Edward Watson, Vadim Muntagirov, Sergei Polunin, Matthew Ball, Marian Walter, Igor Kolb, Andrei Merkuriev, Marijn Rademaker, Timofej Andrijashenko.. Many return to dance with Men in Motion again and some new dancers join – Mathieu Ganio Etoile of the Paris Opera Ballet will join this November, previously the schedules never worked out but the stars are in the right place this time.

Being a fan of dance myself I want to show in London (and see myself) the best there is in the world and this time it’s an outstanding line up from the greatest dance theatres from Paris, Berlin, Milan, Oslo, Amsterdam to London.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced being both the producer and a performer in Men in Motion?

I enjoy challenges! Well not always, but once they are in the past and you achieve what was planned – there is a sensation similar to when you dance on stage. You spend hours, days, weeks and months preparing and it’s over in a few hours. In that sense dancing and producing is similar and give similar injection of energy from the show.

The challenge is to keep everyone inspired and happy.

Have you ever done house dinner parties and thought later what was the point of that? Well it’s not like that, it is inspiring at the time and stays memorable to people on both sides of the curtain. I keep hearing from dancers and audiences who like to see/do more and how inspired they stayed. All the challenges worth it.

What can audiences expect from Men in Motion?

At any age you are good for dance. Dance is inclusive, intimate and open at the same time, unexpected and momentous, magical and hypnotic. Expect all this from Men in Motion.

Ivan Putrov – Men in Motion will be performed at London Coliseum between 22-23 November. Book tickets here.

Sadler’s Wells supports young people to start a creative career

Sadler’s Wells has collaborated with London Legacy Development Corporation and Create Jobs for the second consecutive year to deliver the Creative Opportunity Programme – offering east London residents aged 18-30 information, inspiration and guidance on careers in the creative industries. Twenty-six young people joined the two-week programme in September, where they took part in workshops, visited arts organisations across London and were given practical advice on applying and interviewing for entry-level roles.

The programme aims to introduce young people to a wider range of opportunities and careers in the creative and cultural sector, from digital marketing to costume design, and provide them with the skills, insight and confidence to successfully apply for jobs.

Over the two weeks, the participants visited a number of cultural venues, hearing from members of different departments within each organisation, gaining an insight into the sector and any entry-level jobs, internships and apprenticeships available. Organisations taking part in the programme included Sadler’s Wells, Whitechapel Gallery, the V&A, Stratford Circus Arts Centre and The Backstage Centre, a production venue in Essex.

The workshops focused on employability, networking skills and professional impact. The young people learnt how to match their specific skills with job descriptions, how to perform in interview and assessment exercises and how to create a professional profile.

The group benefited from a confidence building session with Dramatic resources, a specialist training organisation that draws on theatre and performance techniques to enhance communication skills, as well as from a workshop from marketing consultancy Co-Relate, who worked with the group to create a live marketing campaign for Spitalfields Music, a music charity serving the local community in Tower Hamlets.

We hope that the programme will have inspired and emboldened the participants to pursue a career path within the arts and cultural sectors, and we are delighted that a number of participants have already gained employment and signed up for sessions with the National College Creative Industries. One participant has recently joined Sadler’s Wells as a Visitor Services Intern as part of the STEP programme – a 12 month paid internship where interns undertake placements at two London-based creative organisations.

Images: Francis Augusto Photography


The Lowry, Salford, Birmingham Hippodrome and Sadler’s Wells have formed a partnership called The Movement to programme high-quality large-scale dance, supported by a range of audience development initiatives, including the creation of social media content.

Three film companies based in each of the partner venues’ areas have been commissioned to create short films which challenge preconceptions of dance, with the aim of demystifying the art form, and encouraging more people to try dance at their local theatre.

The first film (‘What does a dancer look like?’) was launched on Wednesday 4 October at 4pm, and can be seen on The Movement’s social media channels on Facebook and Instagram or on Sadler’s Wells’ YouTube channel .

‘What does a dancer look like?’ has been created by Koala, based in St. Pauls Square, Birmingham, and utilises the talents of local artists. Solihull-based choreographer Catriona O’Brien was recruited to work on this film, and has been dancing and teaching in the local area for many years.

The performers in the film were discovered through a call-out to local networks, and were cast to represent a diverse group of dancers from the local area. Gemskii is a trained hip-hop dancer, and although she had retired 10 years ago, seeing the casting ad for the film encouraged her to come out of retirement.

“When I auditioned for The Movement film I felt the surge of inner well-being that vigorous dancing gives. Initially I felt completely out-classed by my fellow dancers having not dancing professionally for over 10 years, but taking part in this project has resulted in my pledging to attend tap classes for a year, because improvement and practice in ‘art’ brings joy and joy is something no one can  have too much of!” said Gemskii.

The film also features performers from Solihull. Pavneet attends her local dance school, and this is the first time she’s performed on camera. The other dancers Frank, Jon, Riley, Lola, Molly and Lara are training at various schools nationwide, and taking part in this film has given them a greater understanding of how to reach new audiences for dance:

“Doing this film has been a great way of sharing our love of dance, and hopefully it will encourage more people to get into dance, whether participating or watching!”

Further films are to be released in the next few months, and will all appear on The Movement’s Instagram and Facebook profiles.

The Movement have produced new commissions in Debut, from Carlos Acosta’s new company Acosta Danza, which is touring the UK now. Debut appears at The Lowry on 12-14 October, and at Birmingham Hippodrome on 18-21 October. For full tour dates read more here.

Supported by Arts Council England, The Movement aims to nurture talent and bring large scale dance productions to even wider audiences. To read more about The Movement, visit our website .