Four new movement portraits on Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage introduce the unique creative perspectives of Sadler’s Wells’ Young Associates:
Olive Hardy, Vidya Patel, John-William Watson, Magnus Westwell.
The Young Associates programme supports talented 18- to 24-year-olds for two years, providing a crucial first step into their career as choreographers. The artists receive a tailored course of professional development and support, including the opportunity to present their work as part of the Sadler’s Wells artistic programme.
To create these short films, each Young Associate was mentored by one of Sadler’s Wells’ Associate Artists; Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui with John-William Watson, Michael Keegan-Dolan with Olive Hardy, Wayne McGregor with Magnus Westwell and Kate Prince with Vidya Patel. All four films were made in collaboration with innovative photographer and filmmaker, Jacob Sutton.
Sadler’s Wells is committed to supporting artists at every stage of their career and to nurture the pipeline of talent. We identified the need for more support to be given to those at the very outset of their dance-making careers. So, we created the Young Associates programme in 2018, with the goal of supporting artists establish their choreographic voices early on.
Each Young Associates’ film is available on Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage, and each artist is also making a work to be performed in person in a Mixed Bill at the Lilian Baylis Studio. The Mixed Bill by the Young Associates will be their first live performances of the work. This evening of dance will showcase the distinct and diverse creative voices of these young artists, as they embark on their careers as choreographers.
Olive Hardy is London born and Bristol raised. Olive started dancing for Rise Youth Dance and performed with the company for most of her youth, under the direction of Helen Wilson.
Taking an organic and improvisational approach to her choreography, Olive’s piece focuses on the experience of catharsis and the surfacing and release of strong emotion.
How would you describe your experience working with Michael Keegan-Dolan?
‘I had a really nice time with him, I was pretty star struck! We had a hearty chat; he gave me some passionate advice on moving forward as a choreographer and we laughed and shared stories. As someone I look up to, it affirmed the way in which I’d like to work, which feels more concrete now’.
Vidya Patel is a Birmingham-based dance artist, choreographer and performer with a training background in kathak. She was encouraged to attend Indian classical dance classes by her parents from a young age. Vidya graduated from The Centre of Advanced Dance Training – south Asian strand at Birmingham DanceXchange and learns from Sujata Banerjee.
Inspired by the storytelling in Indian classical dance, this piece by Vidya is a love letter to kathak dance, a homage to her cultural roots and feeling at home amongst nature, with a twist that embraces her own choreographic style.
How did you find the process of creating the film?
‘It was very personal because it includes people and elements important to my dance journey, my kathak teacher Sujata Banerjee, composer Shammi Pithia, the sound of tabla played by Amritpal Singh and the artform kathak. I really wanted to honour the Indian classical dance form that has led me to new experiences and has been a vehicle to connect with others. I wanted to go back to the main source of training and influence, bringing it back home. I chose to rehearse for the film at home, in my bedroom and garden, amongst nature, where I feel most comfortable’.
John-William Watson was born in Leeds and began his training at Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Youth Academy and CAPA College. During this time, he was also a member of the National Youth Dance Company for two years. Now, having studied at Koninklijk Conservatorium Antwerpen (BE), he is based in the UK as a freelance dancer and dance theatre maker.
Using a surrealist lens, John-William’s piece takes inspiration from the elements used in silent film to create an entire world around a story, with an unapologetic commitment to musicality, composition and character.
How would you describe your choreographic style?
‘My dance theatre work and movement practice focuses on abstracting and playing with the everyday, utilitarian and pedestrian; both from a physical and theatrical standpoint’.
Magnus Westwell is a Scottish-born choreographer and composer, based in London. They work at the intersection of dance, music and visual art, with their work performed across the UK and Europe. Magnus’ creations can be haunting and romantic, often looking at the extremes of ecstasy and emptiness, as well as their experience of being queer and neurodivergent.
This raw and rhythmically driven piece takes us inside the mind of Magnus and how they visualise music.
What was the inspiration behind your film?
‘The film is like a representation of how I visualise music. Whenever I’m listening to music, I’m often imagining something like this in my head. I was also inspired a little by ‘cows & cows & cows’ – a YouTube video which went viral in 2011’.
See the Young Associates’ work live on stage, Tuesday 23 November – Wednesday 24 November 2021, at the Lilian Baylis Studio. You can get your tickets here.
Olive Hardy – Instagram: @olivehardy
Vidya Patel – Instagram: @_vidyapatel
John-William Watson – Instagram: @johnwilliamwatson
Magnus Westwell – Instagram: @magnuswestwell