Monthly Archives: June 2022

Sadler’s Wells East Celebrates Topping Out

Today we held a topping out ceremony for Sadler’s Wells East, our fourth venue that’s due to open next year at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. And we invited local young people to be part of the first show to hit our new stage. 

At this morning’s ceremony to celebrate completion of the concrete structure, Justine Simons OBE,Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries announced that local young people are invited to be part of immersive dance show Our Mighty Groove

Directed and choreographed by Vicki Igbokwe, Our Mighty Groove tells of the transformative power of the club dancefloor where anything can happen. Inspired by the New York club scene, it’s about how people can feel empowered to be their authentic selves through dance. The production blends club styles house dance, waacking and vogue with African and contemporary dance.   

Young people living or studying in east London, who will be aged 16 – 21 on 31 August 2023, are invited to take part in workshops starting this summer, delivered by Vicki’s company Uchenna Dance. Some workshop participants will then be invited to join the professional dancers on stage. 

Find out more about the workshops for Our Mighty Groove

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “East Bank is the biggest investment in London’s cultural offering for a century and today’s ceremony at Sadler’s Wells East brings us another step closer to the completion of this exciting journey. Talented young Londoners will have the opportunity to take centre stage in the opening production at this fantastic venue, which will be rooted in the local community, helping to build a better London for everyone.”  

Justine Simons OBE,Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries said: Access to contemporary dance at school massively changed my life, it gave me the confidence to pursue a career in the creative industries. So I couldn’t be more excited to announce that young people in east London will get the chance to be part of Our Mighty Groove, the very first show at the brand new Sadler’s Wells East in November 2023. I can’t wait to see it!”   

Alistair Spalding, Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive said: “This is an amazing opportunity for us to get local people involved with Sadler’s Wells East, and I hope people living in east London will feel they are at the centre of our activities and connected to the work on our stages. This is a historic moment for Sadler’s Wells, and I am overjoyed that Sadler’s Wells East will provide such a fantastic resource for the local community as well as for dance in the UK.”  

  Vicki Igbokwe said: “Uchenna Dance and I are really looking forward to meeting the young people of East London. We are excited to share the Uchenna way of life as we empower, entertain and educate these incredible people who will also teach us a thing or two as well.”  

Sadler’s Wells East is part of the East Bank development alongside the BBC, UAL’s London College of Fashion, UCL and the V&A. Funding has been provided by the UK Government and GLA as part of the Olympic legacy strategy. Sadler’s Wells East will support artist development and training, and the creation of new work. It will provide a platform for UK dance companies, and productions created at Stratford will tour the UK. It will be home to Sadler’s Wells’ Hip Hop Theatre Academy, directed by Breakin’ Convention Artistic Director Jonzi D, and Choreographic School with modules led by world-class dance artists.  

The topping out ceremony featured a performance from east London-based hip hop crew EASTablishment, who are all aged 16 – 24.  

 Did you know, the volume of concreate used in the construction of Sadler’s Wells East would fill two Olympic sized swimming pools, at just over 5,000m3. The weight of steel reinforcement within the construction is the equivalent of more than 12,000 dancers, at 607 tonnes. 

Photo by Sian-Estelle Petty


This year’s hotly anticipated Flamenco Festival, back for the first time since 2019, celebrates rising stars and Flamenco legends. From traditional flair to flamenco with a twist! 

‘5 Things You Didn’t Know About Flamenco Festival’ Film © Dotdotdance.

With our annual Flamenco Festival kicking off this June, discover a further 15 things you may not already know about this unique art-form! 

1. It is widely believed that Flamenco actually originates from India! The roots, though somewhat mysterious, seem to lie in the Roma migration from Rajasthan (northwest India) to Spain between the 9th and 14th centuries.  

2. Flamenco dance is called ‘Baile’, while a flamenco dancer is known as a ‘Bailor’ (male) and ‘Bailaora’ (female). 

El Yiyo y su troupe.

3. The typical Flamenco outfit is called the ‘Traje de Flamenca’. Dresses are said to have a guitar shaped body, to enhance a woman’s figure. Heels are an essential and range from 4 – 7cm in height. They can also have special nails in the sole to enhance sound.  

4. ‘Duende’ is a term used to describe the ‘soul’ of Flamenco and a heightened sense of emotion that overtakes you. The term also describes an elf or goblin-like creature in Spanish mythology, where it is derived from.  

Gala Fiesta de la Buliería de Jurez.

5. ‘Palos’, which also means stick or branch refers to the different traditional music forms of Flamenco. There are more than 50 Palos, from Algerías to Bulerías.  

6. Castanets are not part of traditional Flamenco; they are an element that has been added to enhance finger snapping. These wooden percussion instruments are more than 3,000 years old and over time have become an iconic symbol of Spanish Flamenco.  

Manuel Liñan – ¡VIVA!

7. Flamenco is made up of four elements: Cante (voice), Baile (dance), Toque (guitar) and the Jaleo, which is roughly translates to mean ‘hell raising’ and involves the handclapping, foot stomping and shouts of encouragement.  

Compañia Maria Pages – An Ode to Time.

8. Silverio Franconetti Aguila, born in Seville in 1831, is considered a legendary singer of Flamenco and opened the famous Café Silverios. It became known as the top ‘Café Cantante’ in Spain during a golden age of Flamenco, where he invited only the most talented singers to perform and promoted only the purest forms of the art. 

Compañia Jesús Carmona – The Jump.

9. The ‘Cajón’ is another popular percussion instrument, originating from Peru, sometimes used in Flamenco performances. Legendary Spanish Flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía discovered the Cajón during one of his tours in America in the late 1970s and described the sound as ‘restrained to Flamenco’. 

Paula Comitre – Residency Sharing.

10. From 1920 to 1955, many Flamenco shows took place in bullrings and theatres, and became known as ‘Opera Flamenca’. A reason why this name became popular was because opera paid much lower rates of tax than Flamenco shows, so was more economical. 

Tomatito – In Concert.

11. One of Spain’s greatest writers, Federico Garcia Lorca, was a keen ambassador of the art-form. Two of his most important poetic works, ‘Poema del Cante Jondo’ and ‘Romancero Gitano’ show Lorca’s fascination with Flamenco and appreciation of Spanish folk culture.  

En Compañia: Daniel Ramos & Víctor Martín.

12. Rhythmic handclapping, known as ‘Palmas’, is an important part of Flamenco. There are two types: ‘Palmas Sordas’ and ‘Palmas Abiertas’ which use different parts of the hand to produce different sounds. 

Estrella Morente – In Concert.

13. Under the ‘Franco’ regime, Flamenco gained the status of a Spanish national symbol, while secret police simultaneously repressed any form of cultural dissent in lower-class neighbourhoods, illegalizing many Flamenco concerts and gatherings. 

Rocio Márquez and Bronquio – Tercer Cielo (Third Heaven).

14. In classical music theory, ‘Compás’ is the word used to describe the rhythm or time signature in Flamenco. Flamenco uses three basic counts or measures: Binary, Ternary and the (unique to flamenco) Twelve-Beat Cycle. 

15. The fastest flamenco dancer ever recorded danced 1,274 taps in one minute. 

Los Voluble – Flamenco is not a crime.

Flamenco Festival returns to Sadler’s Wells from Tuesday 21 June – Saturday 2 July 2022. 

For more information and tickets: