learning and engagement

East London Pupils Take Part in Rambert Dance Workshop

Dance company Rambert enthused pupils from an east London school with a workshop held on Sadler’s Wells main stage during the run of its production A Linha Curva & Other Works.

In November, a class of 11 year-10 students from Bow School in Tower Hamlets worked with Laura Harvey, Artistic Director of Rambert’s youth dance company Quicksilver, to learn and perform an extract of A Linha Curva, one of the iconic works in the company’s repertoire. Choreographed by Itzik Galili, the piece was inspired by the Brazilian carnival and is part of the GCSE Dance syllabus.

The pupils had been learning sequences of the work in class since the beginning of the month. Working on a stage for the first time at Sadler’s Wells gave them the opportunity to learn more about performance and projection techniques, and to experience the professional environment the Rambert dancers perform the piece in. After the workshop, the young participants enjoyed the matinee performance of the show.

The students will now use sections from the extract they have learnt as part of a group project, which they will present in examinations for their GCSE Dance qualification.

Bow School is the first Associate School Sadler’s Wells has appointed in east London. This forms part of the Learning & Engagement work that we are developing with young people and communities in the area, ahead of the opening of our new venue as part of a new cultural and education district in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

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

Sadler’s Wells participates in Japan conference on how art benefits the elderly

Sadler’s Wells staff and members of our Company of Elders discussed how the arts benefit the over 60s at an international conference in Japan in September. The four-day World Gold Theater Kickoff symposium at the Saitama Arts Theater featured workshops and panel discussions with performers and speakers from Japan and the UK, who shared programming and best practice, as well as exploring the role of ageing communities in the arts. Besides Sadler’s Wells, other UK organisations in attendance included London’s performing arts centre the Albany and Entelechy Arts, a participatory arts company working with older people from diverse communities.

Our Director of Learning and Engagement Joce Giles, Lucy Clarke-Bishop, Projects Producer in the Learning and Engagement team, three members of our Company of Elders – Betsy Field, Chris Havell and Catriona Maccoll – and the company’s rehearsal director Simona Scotto gave a presentation on Sadler’s Wells’ over-60s programme. They shared an overview of our work with the Company of Elders, our outreach activities, including the Silver Routes community group, and the Elixir Festival, which celebrates lifelong creativity and the achievements of older dance artists. Joce also took part in a panel discussion alongside David Slater, director of Entelechy Arts, which was chaired by Yoshiyuki Oshita, chief director of the Center For Arts Policy and Management for Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting. The debate looked at how theatres’ future programmes could focus on creative opportunities for elderly people.

Simona led a Company of Elders’ taster session and three introductory dance workshops designed for the local over-60 community in Saitama. There were 20-30 participants in each workshop, who were given the chance to learn introductory dance skills and some of the Company of Elders repertoire.

Sadler’s Wells’ relationship with Saitama Arts Theater is a long-term one, centred on a shared vision of connecting older audiences with dance. The Japanese theatre’s late artistic director, Yukio Ninagawa, founded Saitama Gold Theater, an over-55 theatre company that has been performing and touring internationally since its inception in 2006. Saitama Arts Theater has also been involved in ambitious community engagement: in 2016 it delivered the 10,000 Gold Theater project, which saw 1,600 professional and non-professional performers over 60 from the local community perform a new production at Saitama Super Arena.

We were thrilled to be able to discuss how arts and culture can contribute to elderly people’s mental and physical wellbeing with international colleagues. We look forward to continuing our work with the Saitama Arts Theater and other like-minded organisations to support and promote lifelong creativity worldwide.

To find out more about Company of Elders, visit the website

Community dance group and NYDC alumni create piece inspired by Lyon Opera Ballet show

If you are coming to see Trois Grandes Fugues by Lyon Opera Ballet at Sadler’s Wells on 20 October, make sure to arrive early to catch a special performance by community dance group Silver Routes and alumni of National Youth Dance Company.

Silver Routes meet weekly at the St Luke’s Centre in Islington and are part of Sadler’s Wells’ outreach programme for over 60s, while NYDC is one of the artist development programmes we run to nurture the next generation of talent. Both projects are part of our Learning and Engagement work, which aims to make dance accessible to all and to inspire new and existing audiences, young people and communities by connecting them with dance and our programme.

The curtain raiser ahead of Trois Grandes Fugues sees 21 dancers from Silver Routes and alumni of NYDC collaborate on a thought-provoking piece inspired by the Lyon Opera Ballet production. Similarly to the three pieces in the programme, it responds to Beethoven’s Grande Fugue op.133. The work has been choreographed by Catarina Carvalho, a former dancer with Company Wayne McGregor.

This is a joint initiative between Sadler’s Wells and Dance Umbrella, an international dance festival celebrating 21st-Century choreography by presenting dance across the capital, including the performances of Trois Grandes Fugues on our stage.

The intergenerational project aims to bring together dancers of different backgrounds to create work in response to our artistic programme. There are two opportunities to watch this piece, at 6:45 and 7pm on the Mezzanine level, before the Lyon Opera Ballet show begins.

We hope you enjoy it!

Over 60s enjoy Caribbean inspired social at Sadler’s Wells

Our Lilian Baylis Arts Club (LBAC) helps those over 60 connect with the arts and our Sadler’s Wells programme. Participants have the chance to hear talks from dancers, choreographers, designers and singers and to take part in workshops. Over the summer, members of the club enjoyed activities such as a trip to the Islington Museum to see the Sadler’s Wells archive, and heard a talk by Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding about the Autumn 2017 programme.

In partnership with All Change, a charity which delivers innovative arts projects that bring together artists and communities in north London and beyond, LBAC threw a special Caribbean-inspired Rub-a-dub social celebrating the end of the summer term. ‘Rub-a-dub’ is a style of reggae developed in the late 1970s preceding dancehall.

The event included a dance workshop by Candoco, a dance company comprised of disabled and non-disabled dancers with a focus on rethinking what dance is and who can dance. Candoco has been working with residents of The Mildmay Extra Care Centre and they were joined at the workshop by Hackney Elders Group, the Holloway neighbourhood group and the African and Caribbean Senior Citizens organisation at Mildmay Community Partnership.

Donald Edwards, Co-Founder of Phoenix Dance company and RJC Dance Theatre, ran a workshop engaging participants with rock’n’roll, calypso, reggae and ska dance.

Tony Nwachukwu, member of the trip-hop band and production outfit Attica Blues, provided the music whilst the members took over the dancefloor to show off some of their best moves. There was also a delicious rum cake, baked in the Sadler’s Wells kitchen, for everyone to enjoy!

The event was a fantastic send off after a packed summer term for the club, and we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back for the autumn term!

 Find out more about how to get involved in our Lilian Baylis Art Club here.

 

Images: Lauren Matthews for All Change