alexander whitley

Pupils explore solar system through dance

Following the successful premiere of his latest work 8 Minutes on our stage in the summer, Sadler’s Wells’ New Wave Associate Alexander Whitley has worked with Islington pupils to engage them creatively with the science curriculum through dance.

Alexander was inspired by solar science research to create 8 Minutes, a full-length piece combining dance, music and film to investigate concepts such as gravity, orbiting and magnetism through movement. Supported by our Learning and Engagement team, his eponymous dance company devised workshops to be delivered alongside the stage production.

In October, the company spent a week at the Gillespie School in Islington, one of Sadler’s Wells’ associate schools, working with a class of year-5 students to explore the similarities between artistic and scientific processes and using each of them to shed light on the other. The aim was to introduce the children to often abstract and complex scientific concepts by illustrating them through the medium of dance.

The participating class worked with two professional dancers from Alexander Whitley Dance Company, as well as a scientist and a choreographer, to explore solar science and specifically the themes of planets, scale, magnets and orbits through choreography. At the end of the week, the students presented their work to the whole school.

In November, the class performed in our Lilian Baylis Studio to an audience including parents, patrons of Sadler’s Wells and our Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding. Alongside the students’ performances, the evening included a speech from Alexander Whitley about the project, a Q&A with Alexander and the students, and the performance of a short excerpt of 8 Minutes.

We were proud to support this project and work closely with Alexander to encourage primary school students within our local community to approach their science curriculum in a creative way, and to emphasise the role of dance in inspiring curiosity, imagination and knowledge in young people.

Images by Stephen Wright

Tal Rosner receives KOI Award nomination

Congratulations to Tal Rosner, who has been nominated for a Knight of Illumination (KOI) Award for his projection design work on 8 Minutes, a new production by Sadler’s Wells’ New Wave Associate Alexander Whitley.

Jerusalem-born, London-based Rosner is a Bafta-winning moving image and video artist. His work spans orchestral music, theatre and dance, including creating the video design and animation for The Most Incredible Thing at Sadler’s Wells back in 2012.

8 Minutes, created by Whitley in collaboration with Rosner and composer Daniel Wohl, draws inspiration from the images and data of solar science research to explore the spectacular forces at work in the universe. Rosner’s visual installation evokes the breathtaking scale of space through scientific footage and original artwork, contributing to create the striking, immersive environment of dance, music and film the production was acclaimed for following its world premiere in June.

Rosner is nominated for The Hawthorn Theatre Award for Projection Design, which honours outstanding examples of lighting design, video, graphic display and projection design.

The (KOI) Awards ceremony will take place at the Eventim Apollo on 17 September.

Images: 8 Minutes by Alexander Whitley Company. Photo: Johan Persson