MEET SADLER’S WELLS YOUNG ASSOCIATES 2020-21

We’re thrilled to announce Olive Hardy, Vidya Patel, John-William Watson and Magnus Westwell as our Sadler’s Wells Young Associates for 2020-21.

The artist development programme nurtures choreographers under the age of 25 over the course of two years. As part of it, the four artists will receive a tailored programme of professional development, including support with production time across our studios and theatres, advice and networking opportunities, as well as the opportunity to present their work.

The aim is to help the young artists take the crucial first step into their career as dance makers, enabling them to deepen their understanding of their own practice and gain valuable insight into dance production.

WELCOMING A NEW GENERATION OF DANCE MAKERS

London-born and Bristol-raised, Olive Hardy first started dancing for Rise Youth Dance and has performed with the company for most of her young adulthood. Her training began at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and she graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in 2019.

Olive Hardy (R) working with a dancer.

She has performed in works by choreographers Samir Kennedy, Leila McMillan, Rick Nodine and Seke Chimutengwende. Olive is interested in delving further into the creative and collaborative process of dance making and hopes to produce work that resonates with the people who experience it.

Olive Hardy working with dancers.

Vidya Patel comes from Birmingham. Her background is in Kathak, training under the guidance of Sujata Banerjee. After graduating from the Centre of Advanced Training at Birmingham DanceXchange, Vidya took part in the inaugural BBC Young Dancer 2015, where she was selected as the finalist for the South Asian category. She has since performed in international touring works created by critically acclaimed artists Sir Richard Alston, Gary Clarke, Thick & Tight and Akademi.

Vidya Patel working with dancer Connor Scott.

While continuing her Indian classical dance training, Vidya is looking to develop her own choreographic  practice.

Vidya Patel (R) working with dancer Connor Scott.

Born in Leeds, John-William Watson began his training at Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Youth Academy. During this time, he was also a member of National Youth Dance Company for two years and trained under the artistic direction of Sadler’s Wells’ Associate Artists Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Michael Keegan-Dolan.

John-William Watson (R) working with a dancer.


He then moved to Belgium to study at The Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp. He was selected as the Wild Card finalist in the BBC Young Dancer 2017 competition. Returning to the UK, he is following his creative path within the world of absurd and often comedic dance theatre.

John-William Watson (R) working with a dancer.

Edinburgh-born interdisciplinary artist Magnus Westwell is a graduate from The Dance School of Scotland and Rambert School, where he was the recipient of a scholarship from the Veronica Bruce Memorial Trust. Magnus works at the intersection of music, movement and visual art. He is interested in placing contemporary performance art in a variety of different settings and his work has been shown at electronic music festivals, in theatres, clubs, churches and on BBC4.

Magnus Westwell (R) working with a dancer.

Magnus creates and mixes his own music, drawing inspiration from his background in traditional Scottish fiddle and his interest in left-field electronic music. He is the resident choreographer with multi-media collective SYNTREX.

Magnus Westwell (R) working with a dancer.

The Young Associates programme has been nurturing budding dance makers while bringing fresh and exciting new work to the fore since its launch in February 2018. Sadlers’ Wells’ inaugural Young Associates 2018-19 – Anthony Matsena, Wilhelmina Ojanen, Ruby Portus and Christopher Thomas – completed the programme in December. All continue to work on exciting upcoming projects, adding their talents to a new artistic generation of dance makers.

Images throughout: Camilla Greenwell.