A new work commissioned as part of celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of Sadler’s Wells building was named best new dance production at the Olivier Awards 2019, with two Sadler’s Wells Associate Artists also winning prizes.
At a ceremony held at the Royal Albert Hall on 7 April, dancer and choreographer Botis Seva was recognised for his work BLKDOG, while Sadler’s Wells’ Associate Artists Akram Khan and Matthew Bourne took home the outstanding achievement in dance and a special award recognising three decades of achievement in British dance, respectively.
The Olivier Awards are Britain’s most prestigious stage honours, recognising excellence in – and the world-class status of – professional theatre in London.
Let’s take a closer look at these award-winning dance artists…
From left to right: Botis Seva, Akram Khan and Matthew Bourne.
Botis Seva: BLKDOG
Botis Seva is a dancer, choreographer and artistic director of company Far From the Norm. He works within the realms of contemporary dance, physical theatre and hip hop.
His highly praised piece BLKDOG premiered at Sadler’s Wells in October 2018 as part of Reckonings – a triple bill of new work we commissioned as part of celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of our current theatre building, which also featured pieces by Alesandra Seutin and our New Wave Associate Julie Cunningham.
A “bleak and withdrawn commentary on having to cope with being a child-like adult and an untamed artist simultaneously”, BLKDOG took home best new dance production at yesterday’s Olivier Awards – a monumental win for hip hop dance, the UK’s wider dance industry and beyond.
Botis is currently the 2018-19 Guest Artistic Director of the National Youth Dance Company (NYDC), which is run by Sadler’s Wells. Now in its eighth year, the company comprises of 38 young dancers from across England. Working under the guidance of Botis and his creative team, NYDC is currently in rehearsals ahead of the premiere of MADHEAD, a new piece combining Botis’ unique choreographic style with the young dancers’ energy and talent. The show has its premiere at Dance East on 20 April ahead of a national tour over the summer, with a final performance at Sadler’s Wells on 19 July.
Akram Khan: XENOS
Akram Khan is one of the most internationally celebrated dance artists working today. He was among the first group of dance artists appointed as Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist in 2005, and we’ve been proud to co-produce many of the acclaimed works he has created since, including zero degrees, a collaboration with fellow Associate Artist Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui; Sacred Monsters, created with ballet star Sylvie Guillem; Gnosis; Vertical Road; DESH; iTMOi (in the mind of igor); Until the Lions; and XENOS.
Akram’s style blends the Indian classical dance form of Kathak with contemporary dance to tell moving and powerful stories that have universal resonance. Marking Akram’s final performances as a solo dancer in a full-length work, XENOS captured the shell-shocked experience of a colonial soldier in the First World War.
His stellar performance in the solo piece earned him the outstanding achievement in dance prize at the Olivier Awards.
Matthew Bourne is widely hailed as the UK’s most popular choreographer and director. He is the creator of the world’s longest running ballet production, a five-time Olivier Award-winner, and the only British director to have won a Tony Award for both best choreographer and best director of a musical. He was also one of the first Associate Artists appointed at Sadler’s Wells in 2005.
In 2017, Matthew’s company New Adventures, a Resident Company at Sadler’s Wells, celebrated its 30th anniversary.
Matthew was presented with a special Olivier Award recognising three decades of extraordinary achievement in dance. This was his 8th Olivier Award, making him joint holder of the most ever Oliviers, alongside actress Judi Dench.
Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet, his latest work, will come to our stage on Wednesday 7 August.