Monthly Archives: January 2022

WELL SEASONED, CELEBRATING BLACK DANCE

Happy 2022! We’re extremely excited for this year at Sadler’s Wells, where we continue to showcase wonderful projects and productions, build relationships and bring joy to our visitors, participants, artists, communities and audience members, in our venues, on tour and abroad. 

Kicking off 2022, Sadler’s Wells is proud to announce Well Seasoned, Celebrating Black Dance. 

Well Seasoned was designed by Sadler’s Wells’ Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding and Artistic Director of Breakin’ Convention Jonzi D, to platform work by both UK-based and international Black dancemakers. 

Jonzi D said: ‘Well Seasoned is a flava full celebration of work from the African diaspora and beyond. As a statement of intent, we want to present the artistic diversity of People of Colour, particularly from the Black community. Our programme will reflect London’s cultural melting pot. A nourishing blend of local and global dance theatre makers, presenting work that is vibrant, challenging and delicious!’ 

Alistair Spalding said: ‘We wanted to highlight dance made by Black artists to celebrate them and to share with our existing and new audiences that this is happening at Sadler’s Wells. This is not a one off but an indication of a direction of travel for our venues and you will see more of the work of these amazing performers and choreographers in future seasons. We hope this selection of works in Well Seasoned gives a taste of the wonderful variety of dance being created by Black artists in the UK and beyond’. 

Well Seasoned includes work by Anthony and Kel Matsena, L’atisse Rhoden, Johannes Radebe and Breakin’ Convention, as well as Sadler’s Wells Production TRAPLORD by Ivan Michael Blackstock, and Botis Seva’s BLKDOG on tour, co-produced by Sadler’s Wells. 

Botis Seva said: ‘It’s great to see Sadler’s Wells upholding its promise to platform and champion more artists of colour in its programming, it finally reflects the breadth of ideas and artists in the UK and beyond! The artists featured as part of Well Seasoned are not just change makers of colour but they are change makers full stop! We’ve still got a way to go, but Well Seasoned is certainly a huge acknowledgement of the need for inclusivity and better visibility’. 

L’atisse Rhoden said: ‘Shining a light on Black dance artists allows new audiences to experience their work. It also acts as a much-needed voice in theatre when sharing opportunities can be limited for Black creatives’. 

Wild Card: Akeim Toussaint Buck – Radical Visions  

Wild Card returns with more offerings from a new generation of artists, invited to curate their own night. This January, Sadler’s Wells welcomes Akeim Toussaint Buck to the Lilian Baylis Studio to present his Wild Card, Radical Visions, featuring live music, film and powerful performance.   

Co-produced by Sadler’s Wells and Akeim Toussaint Buck.

In front of an altar and stained glass window, Akeim Toussaint Buck leaps towards us, left leg lifted straight in front, right arm extended in a high diagonal. His long locks fly straight up above his head. His chest and feet are bare and he wears loose, layered white trousers with intricate black embroidery that echoes the rich patterns of the church interior.
Wild Card: Akeim Toussaint Buck – Radical Visions. © Ashley Karrell

Dance Consortium presents Acosta Danza – 100% Cuban 

International ballet superstar Carlos Acosta’s critically acclaimed Cuban company Acosta Danza has garnered an unrivalled reputation for creating work that combines both classical and contemporary genres effortlessly, infused with Cuba’s rich musical and dance influences.  

Acosta Danza is a Sadler’s Wells International Associate Company.

A young black woman with a shaved head wears a sky-blue sleeveless dress with a full skirt that falls to the floor. Her body forms a dynamic zigzag: balancing on the ball of her left foot, with the knee bent, right hip swung out as she twists upwards to look at her right hand, palm to the sky above her head.
Dance Consortium presents Acosta Danza – 100% Cuban. © Manuel Vason

Ivan Michael Blackstock – TRAPLORD  

Award-winning dance artist and cultural innovator Ivan Michael Blackstock’s TRAPLORD is an immersive dance performance meditating on life, death and rebirth. Wandering between dreams and reality, TRAPLORD takes us on a new heroic journey to self-actualisation. 

Sadler’s Wells x 180 Studios. A co-production with The Factory and ALTRUVIOLET. Supported by Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and the Maria Bjornson Memorial Fund. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Seven young men are gathered around a black car which sits on a bed of pink and white flowers, like a tribute for a funeral. The men wear black hoodies, combat trousers and puffa jackets. One, with large rabbit ears coming from his hood, has a wide, relaxed smile; another holds a latex pig mask. The men’s faces are painted a dark, metallic black, contrasting with the warm brown tones of the skin on their necks and hands.
Ivan Michael Blackstock – TRAPLORD. © Glodi Miessi 

Phoenix Dance Theatre – 40 Years of Phoenix 

Sadler’s Wells National Partner Company Phoenix Dance Theatre celebrates its 40th birthday with a range of work from across its illustrious history. The programme features five pieces by internationally acclaimed, award-winning choreographers, including former Artistic Directors and collaborators.  

Featuring Pave Up Paradise from Lost Dog (Ben Duke and Raquel Meseguer); Darshan Singh Bhuller’s Heart of Chaos; Signal by Henri Oguike; Jane Dudley’s 1938 masterpiece, Harmonica Breakdown; and Family, choreographed by Shapiro & Smith.  

Phoenix Dance Theatre is a Sadler’s Wells National Partner Company.

Phoenix Dance Theatre – 40 Years of Phoenix. © Foteini Christofilopoulou 

Johannes Radebe – Freedom  

Strictly Come Dancing sensation and international champion, Johannes Radebe, comes to the Peacock Theatre for the London premiere of his debut tour, Freedom.  

This is a celebration of the dances that you love, with Johannes’ signature flair and energy. From ballroom to Latin, the company will perform to classic dance arrangements, South African rhythms and party anthems. Johannes will take you on his journey from growing up in South Africa, to travelling the world, winning competitions and starring in Strictly’s most memorable numbers.

A dancer leaps towards us in mid-air, against a sandy background spattered with red and brown pigment. His legs and midriff are bare, and he wears a loincloth and large collarpiece, both of leopardskin decorated with triangles of coloured beads. A matching beaded headband has long feathers sprouting from the top. He holds a staff topped with a large knob decorated with beads and feathers.
Johannes Radebe – Freedom.

Breakin’ Convention 22 International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre 

Sadler’s Wells’ annual festival of hip hop dance theatre is back for its 19th year, platforming cutting-edge dance rooted in the streets and presented on stage. 

Expect bright lights, loud music and colourful costumes coming together in an annual Sadler’s Wells event that will excite and entertain the whole family. 

Breakin’ Convention is far more than just a show – arrive early for activities in the foyers, including live DJs, dance circles, have-a-go graffiti, popular improvisation-based warm-up show Freestyle Funk Forum, workshops with the artists and much more. 

Line-up to be announced spring 2022. For more information, see breakinconvention.com. 

Breakin’ Convention 22 International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre. © Belinda Lawley 

Matsena Productions / House of Absolute – Shades of Blue / Warrior Queens 

Experience first-hand the next generation of leading London choreographers in this double bill which touches on both a social movement and cultural heritage.  

Shades of Blue is a work from Matsena Productions that beats to the tune of change, lasting change, systematic change - in which performance and protest clash and mould together.   

The work combines thunderous choreography, powerful text and a slick score that will not only make you rethink your position in society but celebrate a stronger future which we all have a part in building.   

Matsena Productions / House of Absolute – Shades of Blue / Warrior Queens.

L’atisse Rhoden – L CASA 

Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate L’atisse Rhoden presents a night of new digital works. 

Inspired by personal narratives and shifting perspectives, Bom Dia! and Dutopia both explore the contrast between reality and dream-like surrealist worlds.  

As part of the evening, L’atisse invites NAVA LDN to curate NAVA Café. Designed by Russell Royer, this pop-up brings communities together in a comfortable and collaborative environment, through a shared love of hip hop and neo soul. L’atisse is co-founder of NAVA LDN alongside Stefan X.   

Expect beats, moves and good vibes.  

L’atisse Rhoden – L CASA.

Impact Dance – Chapter 25+1 

Impact Dance returns to the Peacock Theatre for Chapters 25+1. Join one of the UK’s most innovative dance organisations in celebrating their 26-year journey with a night of bite-sized extracts of excellence inspired by hip hop culture.   

Featuring: ACE Youth, BOP Jazz Theatre Company, Boy Blue, Far From The Norm, FFI of Impact Dance, Fusions Elite, Impact Youth, Myself UK Dance, REDO (HOL), Reading School of Dance, The Urdang ACS, and ZooNation Youth Company.   

Impact Dance – Chapter 25+1. © Gorm Ashurst Photography

On tour… Botis Seva’s BLKDOG  

BLKDOG is Botis Seva’s Olivier award-winning haunting commentary on surviving adulthood as a childlike artist. A genre-defying blend of hip hop dance and free form antics, BLKDOG explores the inner battlefield of an ageing artist trying to retain his youth.    

With music from long standing collaborator Torben Lars Sylvest and performed by Botis’ powerhouse company Far From The Norm, BLKDOG searches for coping mechanisms in the ultimate hunt for acceptance.

A Sadler’s Well’s Co-production. BLKDOG is touring internationally with dates in the USA as well as the UK, including dates in Nottingham, Oxford, Poole, Saffron Walden and Guildford.

In a white-painted, institutional corridor with barred windows, a dancer spirals in mid air, both feet off the ground, one leg and one arm extended straight behind him. He wears loose trousers and his chest is bare. A quilted hood is drawn up tightly around his face and his expression is strained.
Botis Seva’s BLKDOG. © Camilla Greenwell

Coming soon… NYDC 2022 – Alesandra Seutin 

Following the success of 2021’s Speak Volumes, National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) once again collaborates with internationally renowned choreographer Alesandra Seutin. 

33 outstanding young dancers present a new contemporary work, exploring the relationship between movement, voice and music. 

NYDC has established a reputation for producing high-quality, critically acclaimed productions by leading choreographers including Botis Seva, Russell Maliphant, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Sharon Eyal, Damien Jalet, Michael Keegan-Dolan, Akram Khan and Jasmin Vardimon

National Youth Dance Company is run by Sadler’s Wells and supported using public funding by Department for Education and Arts Council England.

NYDC 2022 – Alesandra Seutin. © Stephen Wright Photography.

Akeim Toussaint Buck, Acosta Danza, TRAPLORD, Phoenix Dance Theatre, BLKDOG and Johannes Radebe are already on sale. 

Breakin’ Convention, Matsena Productions / House of Absolute, L’atisse Rhoden and Impact Dance are on sale from Monday 31 January at 10 am via www.sadlerswells.com

NYDC will be on sale at a later date, to be confirmed. 

Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage will feature exclusive commissions and world premieres celebrating and profiling Black dance in an exciting programme online. Details to be announced.