News

WELL SEASONED, CELEBRATING BLACK DANCE

Happy 2022! We’re extremely excited for this year at Sadler’s Wells, where we continue to showcase wonderful projects and productions, build relationships and bring joy to our visitors, participants, artists, communities and audience members, in our venues, on tour and abroad. 

Kicking off 2022, Sadler’s Wells is proud to announce Well Seasoned, Celebrating Black Dance. 

Well Seasoned was designed by Sadler’s Wells’ Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding and Artistic Director of Breakin’ Convention Jonzi D, to platform work by both UK-based and international Black dancemakers. 

Jonzi D said: ‘Well Seasoned is a flava full celebration of work from the African diaspora and beyond. As a statement of intent, we want to present the artistic diversity of People of Colour, particularly from the Black community. Our programme will reflect London’s cultural melting pot. A nourishing blend of local and global dance theatre makers, presenting work that is vibrant, challenging and delicious!’ 

Alistair Spalding said: ‘We wanted to highlight dance made by Black artists to celebrate them and to share with our existing and new audiences that this is happening at Sadler’s Wells. This is not a one off but an indication of a direction of travel for our venues and you will see more of the work of these amazing performers and choreographers in future seasons. We hope this selection of works in Well Seasoned gives a taste of the wonderful variety of dance being created by Black artists in the UK and beyond’. 

Well Seasoned includes work by Anthony and Kel Matsena, L’atisse Rhoden, Johannes Radebe and Breakin’ Convention, as well as Sadler’s Wells Production TRAPLORD by Ivan Michael Blackstock, and Botis Seva’s BLKDOG on tour, co-produced by Sadler’s Wells. 

Botis Seva said: ‘It’s great to see Sadler’s Wells upholding its promise to platform and champion more artists of colour in its programming, it finally reflects the breadth of ideas and artists in the UK and beyond! The artists featured as part of Well Seasoned are not just change makers of colour but they are change makers full stop! We’ve still got a way to go, but Well Seasoned is certainly a huge acknowledgement of the need for inclusivity and better visibility’. 

L’atisse Rhoden said: ‘Shining a light on Black dance artists allows new audiences to experience their work. It also acts as a much-needed voice in theatre when sharing opportunities can be limited for Black creatives’. 

Wild Card: Akeim Toussaint Buck – Radical Visions  

Wild Card returns with more offerings from a new generation of artists, invited to curate their own night. This January, Sadler’s Wells welcomes Akeim Toussaint Buck to the Lilian Baylis Studio to present his Wild Card, Radical Visions, featuring live music, film and powerful performance.   

Co-produced by Sadler’s Wells and Akeim Toussaint Buck.

In front of an altar and stained glass window, Akeim Toussaint Buck leaps towards us, left leg lifted straight in front, right arm extended in a high diagonal. His long locks fly straight up above his head. His chest and feet are bare and he wears loose, layered white trousers with intricate black embroidery that echoes the rich patterns of the church interior.
Wild Card: Akeim Toussaint Buck – Radical Visions. © Ashley Karrell

Dance Consortium presents Acosta Danza – 100% Cuban 

International ballet superstar Carlos Acosta’s critically acclaimed Cuban company Acosta Danza has garnered an unrivalled reputation for creating work that combines both classical and contemporary genres effortlessly, infused with Cuba’s rich musical and dance influences.  

Acosta Danza is a Sadler’s Wells International Associate Company.

A young black woman with a shaved head wears a sky-blue sleeveless dress with a full skirt that falls to the floor. Her body forms a dynamic zigzag: balancing on the ball of her left foot, with the knee bent, right hip swung out as she twists upwards to look at her right hand, palm to the sky above her head.
Dance Consortium presents Acosta Danza – 100% Cuban. © Manuel Vason

Ivan Michael Blackstock – TRAPLORD  

Award-winning dance artist and cultural innovator Ivan Michael Blackstock’s TRAPLORD is an immersive dance performance meditating on life, death and rebirth. Wandering between dreams and reality, TRAPLORD takes us on a new heroic journey to self-actualisation. 

Sadler’s Wells x 180 Studios. A co-production with The Factory and ALTRUVIOLET. Supported by Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and the Maria Bjornson Memorial Fund. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Seven young men are gathered around a black car which sits on a bed of pink and white flowers, like a tribute for a funeral. The men wear black hoodies, combat trousers and puffa jackets. One, with large rabbit ears coming from his hood, has a wide, relaxed smile; another holds a latex pig mask. The men’s faces are painted a dark, metallic black, contrasting with the warm brown tones of the skin on their necks and hands.
Ivan Michael Blackstock – TRAPLORD. © Glodi Miessi 

Phoenix Dance Theatre – 40 Years of Phoenix 

Sadler’s Wells National Partner Company Phoenix Dance Theatre celebrates its 40th birthday with a range of work from across its illustrious history. The programme features five pieces by internationally acclaimed, award-winning choreographers, including former Artistic Directors and collaborators.  

Featuring Pave Up Paradise from Lost Dog (Ben Duke and Raquel Meseguer); Darshan Singh Bhuller’s Heart of Chaos; Signal by Henri Oguike; Jane Dudley’s 1938 masterpiece, Harmonica Breakdown; and Family, choreographed by Shapiro & Smith.  

Phoenix Dance Theatre is a Sadler’s Wells National Partner Company.

Phoenix Dance Theatre – 40 Years of Phoenix. © Foteini Christofilopoulou 

Johannes Radebe – Freedom  

Strictly Come Dancing sensation and international champion, Johannes Radebe, comes to the Peacock Theatre for the London premiere of his debut tour, Freedom.  

This is a celebration of the dances that you love, with Johannes’ signature flair and energy. From ballroom to Latin, the company will perform to classic dance arrangements, South African rhythms and party anthems. Johannes will take you on his journey from growing up in South Africa, to travelling the world, winning competitions and starring in Strictly’s most memorable numbers.

A dancer leaps towards us in mid-air, against a sandy background spattered with red and brown pigment. His legs and midriff are bare, and he wears a loincloth and large collarpiece, both of leopardskin decorated with triangles of coloured beads. A matching beaded headband has long feathers sprouting from the top. He holds a staff topped with a large knob decorated with beads and feathers.
Johannes Radebe – Freedom.

Breakin’ Convention 22 International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre 

Sadler’s Wells’ annual festival of hip hop dance theatre is back for its 19th year, platforming cutting-edge dance rooted in the streets and presented on stage. 

Expect bright lights, loud music and colourful costumes coming together in an annual Sadler’s Wells event that will excite and entertain the whole family. 

Breakin’ Convention is far more than just a show – arrive early for activities in the foyers, including live DJs, dance circles, have-a-go graffiti, popular improvisation-based warm-up show Freestyle Funk Forum, workshops with the artists and much more. 

Line-up to be announced spring 2022. For more information, see breakinconvention.com. 

Breakin’ Convention 22 International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre. © Belinda Lawley 

Matsena Productions / House of Absolute – Shades of Blue / Warrior Queens 

Experience first-hand the next generation of leading London choreographers in this double bill which touches on both a social movement and cultural heritage.  

Shades of Blue is a work from Matsena Productions that beats to the tune of change, lasting change, systematic change - in which performance and protest clash and mould together.   

The work combines thunderous choreography, powerful text and a slick score that will not only make you rethink your position in society but celebrate a stronger future which we all have a part in building.   

Matsena Productions / House of Absolute – Shades of Blue / Warrior Queens.

L’atisse Rhoden – L CASA 

Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate L’atisse Rhoden presents a night of new digital works. 

Inspired by personal narratives and shifting perspectives, Bom Dia! and Dutopia both explore the contrast between reality and dream-like surrealist worlds.  

As part of the evening, L’atisse invites NAVA LDN to curate NAVA Café. Designed by Russell Royer, this pop-up brings communities together in a comfortable and collaborative environment, through a shared love of hip hop and neo soul. L’atisse is co-founder of NAVA LDN alongside Stefan X.   

Expect beats, moves and good vibes.  

L’atisse Rhoden – L CASA.

Impact Dance – Chapter 25+1 

Impact Dance returns to the Peacock Theatre for Chapters 25+1. Join one of the UK’s most innovative dance organisations in celebrating their 26-year journey with a night of bite-sized extracts of excellence inspired by hip hop culture.   

Featuring: ACE Youth, BOP Jazz Theatre Company, Boy Blue, Far From The Norm, FFI of Impact Dance, Fusions Elite, Impact Youth, Myself UK Dance, REDO (HOL), Reading School of Dance, The Urdang ACS, and ZooNation Youth Company.   

Impact Dance – Chapter 25+1. © Gorm Ashurst Photography

On tour… Botis Seva’s BLKDOG  

BLKDOG is Botis Seva’s Olivier award-winning haunting commentary on surviving adulthood as a childlike artist. A genre-defying blend of hip hop dance and free form antics, BLKDOG explores the inner battlefield of an ageing artist trying to retain his youth.    

With music from long standing collaborator Torben Lars Sylvest and performed by Botis’ powerhouse company Far From The Norm, BLKDOG searches for coping mechanisms in the ultimate hunt for acceptance.

A Sadler’s Well’s Co-production. BLKDOG is touring internationally with dates in the USA as well as the UK, including dates in Nottingham, Oxford, Poole, Saffron Walden and Guildford.

In a white-painted, institutional corridor with barred windows, a dancer spirals in mid air, both feet off the ground, one leg and one arm extended straight behind him. He wears loose trousers and his chest is bare. A quilted hood is drawn up tightly around his face and his expression is strained.
Botis Seva’s BLKDOG. © Camilla Greenwell

Coming soon… NYDC 2022 – Alesandra Seutin 

Following the success of 2021’s Speak Volumes, National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) once again collaborates with internationally renowned choreographer Alesandra Seutin. 

33 outstanding young dancers present a new contemporary work, exploring the relationship between movement, voice and music. 

NYDC has established a reputation for producing high-quality, critically acclaimed productions by leading choreographers including Botis Seva, Russell Maliphant, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Sharon Eyal, Damien Jalet, Michael Keegan-Dolan, Akram Khan and Jasmin Vardimon

National Youth Dance Company is run by Sadler’s Wells and supported using public funding by Department for Education and Arts Council England.

NYDC 2022 – Alesandra Seutin. © Stephen Wright Photography.

Akeim Toussaint Buck, Acosta Danza, TRAPLORD, Phoenix Dance Theatre, BLKDOG and Johannes Radebe are already on sale. 

Breakin’ Convention, Matsena Productions / House of Absolute, L’atisse Rhoden and Impact Dance are on sale from Monday 31 January at 10 am via www.sadlerswells.com

NYDC will be on sale at a later date, to be confirmed. 

Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage will feature exclusive commissions and world premieres celebrating and profiling Black dance in an exciting programme online. Details to be announced. 

KNIGHTHOOD FOR ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF SADLER’S WELLS

Alistair Spalding CBE, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Sadler’s Wells, has been awarded a Knighthood for Services to Dance in the New Year Honours. 

Alistair Spalding has been the Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Sadler’s Wells Theatre since 2004 and is currently overseeing the construction of a fourth venue, Sadler’s Wells East, opening in 2023.  

Under Alistair Spalding’s leadership, Sadler’s Wells has become one of the most respected dance institutions in the world, presenting an ambitious programme of cutting-edge dance in all its forms and hosting world-class national and international companies and artists. 

Sir Matthew Bourne:

‘Sir Alistair is the UK’s foremost champion of dance in its many forms. As Artistic Director of Sadler’s Wells – one of the world’s foremost dance organisations – he has overseen a golden age of exciting developments in contemporary dance in particular and has served as a mentor to several generations of world class choreographers whose work has been commissioned and brought to prominence under his inspired leadership. My own collaboration with Alistair has been a mainstay of his time at Sadler’s Wells and I’m proud to have been part of the ongoing success story of this beloved theatre – Bravo Sir Alistair! A much-deserved honour! Long may you continue at The Wells!’

With its historic Islington base and a West End platform at Peacock Theatre, Sadler’s Wells’ London theatres attract audiences of over half a million each year, with many more visiting its internationally touring productions or exploring its digital platforms. 

Spalding’s vision and commitment has always been to discover and nurture new talent. In 2005, he created the Associate Artists programme which represents some the most exciting artists working in dance today. 

Botis Seva: 

‘Alistair is such an ambitious and inclusive leader; he takes the risks without knowing if they will pay off but undoubtedly believes in either the artist or the work. I can’t thank him enough for the support and encouragement he has shown me during my career; because of him, Sadler’s Wells feels more like a homecoming than a building – congratulations Alistair, here is to the next chapter’. 

Alistair Spalding, sitting on Sadler’s Wells Theatre stage.

He has also launched projects such as the international festival of hip-hop dance theatre, Breakin’ Convention, and the Flamenco Festival London, as well as inviting New Adventures, Company Wayne McGregor and ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company to become Sadler’s Wells’ Resident Companies and English National Ballet Sadler’s Wells’ Associate Company. He was instrumental in initiating Sadler’s Wells and Universal Music UK’s production of Sting’s Message In A Bottle, created by Kate Prince, for the West End and plans an ambitious international tour for 2022/3.  

Under Spalding’s direction, Sadler’s Wells has now embarked on the most significant development in its history: the creation of Sadler’s Wells East to support the next generation of artist development and training, and the creation of dynamic new work. Opening in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in 2023, the new venue is part of the East Bank development along with the BBC, University of the Arts London College of Fashion, University College London and V&A East. 

Sadler’s Wells East will be permanent home to the Hip Hop Theatre Academy and Choreographic School and will build the infrastructure for dance to make it accessible to more people. Community will be at the heart of the new development, with a large open foyer that can be used by everyone, as a meeting or performance space. There will also be dance studios and world-class dance facilities for dancemakers to train, create and rehearse productions. The project will touch the lives of everyone living on, working in and visiting the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. 

Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director, English National Ballet: 

‘The impact of Alistair in the UK dance scene cannot be underestimated. His foresight in recognising chorographic talent and determination in supporting creativity and risk taking has been unparalleled and will leave a legacy for decades to come. Thank you, Alistair and congratulations Sir!!’ 

Alistair Spalding on the set of Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker!, currently playing at Sadler’s Wells.

Nigel Higgins, Chair, Sadler’s Wells said: 

‘Alistair is that rare character – a genuine visionary in the performing arts world. Thanks to his leadership and creativity Sadler’s Wells has become a British beacon of the thriving home and international dance community. In a couple of years, the opening of our new venue in Stratford, East London will further underline his tireless efforts to build new audiences and encourage the dance talent of tomorrow. This honour is more than deserved’. 

Alistair Spalding CBE said: 

‘It is a great honour to have the work of Sadler’s Wells recognised in this way. It has presented and invested in more new dance than any other theatre in the world. Dance is now one of the most popular art forms in this country. I believe this award is an indication that our vibrant dance culture goes from strength to strength, and that our ambitious plans for Sadler’s Wells East will inspire and nurture a new generation. Dance is, of course a team effort, and the honour is very much shared with my wonderful team at Sadler’s and our artists and collaborators’. 

From everyone at Sadler’s Wells, we would like to say a huge congratulations to Alistair Spalding on his Knighthood.  

National Youth Dance Company Goes Digital With New Cohort

National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) has completed its second digital residency for the 2020-2021 cohort, led by Guest Artistic Director Alesandra Seutin.

The country’s flagship company for young dancers continues to work in innovative ways in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19. Virtual taster workshops, Q&As, live online workshops and digital sessions have all been developed to help further the company’s learning and training during the pandemic.

Meet National Youth Dance Company 2020-21 film.

Together with Alesandra Seutin and her team of artists from Vocab Dance, NYDC will work on two further residencies before embarking on a short UK tour this summer, including a performance at Sadler’s Wells on Saturday 24 July 2021. Work will continue digitally until government laws allow for the company to meet in person in the studio. Further details about the production and tour are to be announced.  

Introducing the new generation of dance

NYDC’s 2020-2021 cohort is made up of 29 dancers – of which 21 are new company members and eight are returning. New company dancers were recruited virtually in November 2020.

NYDC 2020-21 virtual auditions, captured at Sadler’s Wells.

NYDC’s current cohort includes dancers from over 20 different towns and cities from across the UK. This year, company members range from ages 16 to 18, which goes up to 24 for deaf or disabled dancers.

The company includes: Deborah Asidi from Nottingham, Charlotte Aspin from Bristol, Ella Atkinson from Stalybridge, Jesse Baggett-Lahav from Ipswich, Ashur Cali from Leeds, Keziah Campbell-Golding from London, Elvi Rose Christiansen Head from London, Rory Clarke from Winchester,  Kian Crowley from London, Maya Donne from Lewes, Phoebe Dowglass from Goring-by-sea, Skiye Edmond from London, Harry Fayers from Marlow, Maiya Leeke from Preston, Jasmine Massey from Stourbridge, Max Mulrenan from York, Jamaica Payne from Nottingham, Katie Smith from Wakefield, Amari Webb-Martin from London, Ciaran Wood from Frome and Genevieve Wright from Downham Market. They join the following dancers from the previous cohort: Sonny Connor-Bell from Birmingham, Karim Dime from London, Maia Faulkner from Brighton, Willow Fenner from London, Mia Grote from Totnes, Mirabelle Haddon from London, Chiara Moore from Warrington, and Eve Shorten from Oxford.  

A year like no other

Alesandra Seutin takes over from Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Russell Maliphant, who was the Guest Artistic Director for NYDC in 2019-20. As the UK went into lockdown in March 2020, Russell and the company discovered news ways of working together both online and socially distanced. In the summer 2020, NYDC became the first dancers to return to Sadler’s Wells since lockdown – performing a new dance work to an intimate audience of friends and family, to complete their year.

National Youth Dance Company ‘A year like no other’ 2020 film.

The current cohort of dancers were encouraged to journal about their experiences during their residencies.

NYDC dancer Skiye Edmond, said: “Before the December residency, I was so nervous because I knew that I was going to be working with a group of incredibly talented dancers so naturally, this overwhelmed me. However, as it went on, I was surprised at how connected we had all become despite being online, and how much we were able to learn from each other. I set a goal […] to allow myself to be inspired by others as oppose to developing imposters syndrome and this was definitely achieved.”

Alesandra Seutin, NYDC Guest Artistic Director 2020-21, said: “Regardless of the digital residencies with NYDC, I really feel that we have created a strong connection and been able to transcend the realm of our rectangle spaces. I cannot wait to meet my Company in the flesh!”

Hannah Kirkpatrick, NYDC General Manager, said: “This year is certainly bringing its challenges, but we made a decision early on that it would not stop us creating new work, we just have to adapt how this work can be created. I feel so proud of how the company have responded, how dedicated and motivated they are to working together and making this a success. It is a huge amount of work for Alesandra and her artistic team, planning and utilising the time on Zoom to make sure that when we can be in person we can hit the ground running. This past year has hit us all, but I think it has been particularly difficult for young people, creating a new work over lockdown is keeping us motivated and focused in a time when so much is out of our control.”

Find out more about NYDC here.

National Youth Dance Company is supported using public funding by Department for Education and Arts Council England.

Barclays is the Associate Partner of the National Youth Dance Company.

#WORLDENVIRONMENTDAY: 5 WAYS WE’RE MAKING SADLER’S WELLS A GREENER PLACE

On World Environment Day, we reflect on the ever-present issue of climate change, highlighting the ways in which we strive to promote the preservation of our environment while sustaining creativity within the sector and society at large.

Humans are both creatures and creators of their environment; nowhere does this ring truer than in the cultural sector. Now more than ever, artists not only have the power to transform and shape the world they contribute creatively to, but also a personal responsibility.

At Sadler’s Wells, we are committed to championing action on climate change, a commitment that extends to all areas of our work. From making more conscious decisions about how we present our productions, to the way we operate our building on a day-to-day basis, or better support the education and environmental awareness of our staff and audiences, here are some of the ways in which we are making Sadler’s Wells, and the wider industry, a greener, more sustainable place.

PLASTIC

Replacing plastic straws, take-away boxes and ice cream tubs in our café and bars with biodegradable paper alternatives such as cardboard seems like a giant leap for humankind, considering we were previously disposing of around 3,000 plastic straws every year!

Front of House staff showcases our biodegradable paper straws.

Installing water fountains backstage to cut down on bottled water use, as well as introducing a 20p discount for reusable coffee cups in our café are among the steps we’ve taken in a bid to reduce plastic waste at our venues.

ENERGY REDUCTION

Since 2014, refurbishments to the theatre have helped us to control and monitor our gas, electricity and water use, reducing our CO2 emissions and energy use year-on-year. Addressing the need to create greener production spaces for the future, we have invested in LED show lighting where possible and converted to LED throughout our foyer spaces, auditorium and backstage areas. We are also part of Arts Basket, a consortium of arts venues purchasing energy together, and 100% of our electricity comes from renewable sources.

Solar panels on the roof of Sadler’s Wells’ building in Rosebery Avenue, Islington, London

Thanks to the energy generated by our solar panels – located on the roof of our foyers and the fly tower directly above the main stage – we’re producing approximately 17000 kwh (kilowatt hours) on average per year – enough to power two family homes for a year!

WATER

Our ongoing programme of monitoring and reducing our carbon footprint not only applies to energy, but also water use.

Sadler’s Wells borehole. Image: Derek Kendall, English Heritage

The borehole, which connects us to the water source or ‘well’ underneath Sadler’s Wells, has been a permanent fixture of our building’s history since the early 1600s. Fast forward to 2019, it has become a vital part of our water reduction efforts – providing us with the water used for our sinks, toilets, heating and cooling.

TRANSPORT AND AIR POLLUTION

At Sadler’s Wells, we actively promote the Cycle to Work scheme. We also strongly encourage public transport use wherever possible. Both modes of transport are proving equally popular and are used by 95% of our staff when travelling to work.

Rachel McClure (left) and Elsa Stevens (right) with drivers they spoke to as part of the Vehicle Idling Action campaign

In a bid to lower levels of pollution in our local community, our Green Team encouraged drivers with idling engines outside the theatre to switch them off as part of the 2017 Vehicle Idling Action campaign, which was supported by the Mayor of London and delivered in association with Islington Council. Since then, we have made a conscious shift to the exclusive use of taxi and courier services with robust green credentials, in order to reduce our carbon footprint and improve the city’s air quality.

Advocacy continues to shape our work around sustainability. We recently joined the Spotlight Programme – a committed group of 29 cultural institutions working across England with the shared aim of driving down the environmental impacts of our activities, both individually and collectively in the sector.

SUSTAINABLE TOURING

As a cultural leader in the arts delivering work locally, nationally and internationally, we strive to operate as sustainably as possible. Since October 2018, we have been part of an ongoing collaboration with our Resident Company New Adventures (in particular, the company’s environmental arm Green Adventures) and Norwich Theatre Royal to develop a new blueprint for environmentally sustainable touring.

This collaboration, made possible by the Arts Council England-funded Accelerator Programme, will develop new and innovative projects and initiatives through to March 2022, helping us to think more creatively about the relationship between touring companies and receiving houses.

Green Adventures Champion Andrew Ashton, fellow dancer Isaac Peter Bowry and Norwich Theatre Royal on their eco-friendly initiatives during the 2019 national tour of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake

Creativity and sustainability are among our core values; we believe both are not only intrinsically linked, but also integral to the future of arts and culture. We spoke to Jackson Fisch, dancer and Green Adventures Champion about the role both can play in furthering the fight against climate change.

Why is being a green champion important to you?

Being a Green Champion is important to me as it allows me to develop and change my own personal habits while having discussions with people about how and why we need to make changes to our daily lifestyles, as well as our touring habits, to make a positive change for environmental sustainability. I am in no way a perfect Green Champion, but being a part of the conversation has made me more aware and increased my ability to advocate for change.

What do you feel is your responsibility as an artist to ensure a greener, more sustainable world?

I believe my responsibility is to notice where I personally can change and develop greener habits, then to talk to and inspire others to do the same! A few months ago I became aware that, as a company, we were using copious amounts of paper towel to wipe the sweat off of ourselves while backstage during a performance. After noticing this, I went out and bought my own towel that I could reuse show after show in place of the paper towel that was just thrown away. As a company now, each dancer has a sweat towel provided to them and paper towel is no longer used!

Creativity and sustainability: What is the relationship between the two? How can we be more creative in our approach to protecting our environment?

All over the world artists, creatives and environmentalists are collaborating and thinking of new, sustainable ways to achieve what we now consider necessary ways of working and living. From fashion houses using sustainable materials, to architecture embracing natural materials and encouraging horticulture – the collaborative nature to advocate change always has a creative drive. Without creativity, new ideas driven by this passion and a desire for change would not come about.

New Adventures Green Champion Jackson Fisch. Image: Pamela Raith

Find out more about our Sustainability Policy on our website.

NYDC workshops get young people dancing nationwide

National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) has begun delivering its annual series of experience workshops across the UK, showcasing its talent and encouraging young people to dance. The workshops are aimed at anyone aged 16 to 18 (or up to 24 if deaf or disabled) who is interested in dance, or looking to pursue a career in the sector. A selected number of participants will be called back to a final workshop at Sadler’s Wells later in the year, after which 30 young dancers will be invited to officially join the company’s next cohort.

Run by Sadler’s Wells, NYDC seeks out the brightest talent in dance from across England to work closely with renowned professional artists. Since its inception in November 2012, the company has built a reputation for creating ground-breaking work and producing high-calibre artists that are curious and brave. Each year, a different group of 30 dancers has the opportunity to work with a world-class choreographer and their creative team to create new work and perform it at art venues around the country. Acclaimed dance makers Jasmin Vardimon, Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Michael Keegan-Dolan, Damien Jalet and Sharon Eyal have been Guest Artistic Directors of NYDC in previous years. Emerging choreographer Botis Seva was recently announced a the next Guest Artistic Director for the company, which has been performing to over 30,000 people to date.

NYDC’s experience workshops give participants a sense of what life is like as a NYDC dancer. Participants join a company class, get to learn repertoire from NYDC productions and take part in different creative tasks. This is a great chance for young aspiring dancers to meet the company, learn more about it and further their personal trajectory in the world of dance.

In line with Sadler’s Wells’ core ethos and values, NYDC prides itself on being open and inclusive. Its workshops actively encourage dancers from a wide range of abilities, backgrounds and dance styles. A diversity of experience makes for a better team, and it is an important part of our working practice to bring the workshops as far as possible outside London, to those who otherwise might not be able to take part. An in-built philosophy within the Company is that of giving back – the sharing with others of what has for so many been a fundamentally life-changing experience.

The company is embarking on a concurrent tour to eight venues across England with Used to be Blonde, its latest production by Sadler’s Wells’ Associate Artist Sharon Eyal, with music by composer Ori Lichtik. The show has been commissioned as part of a series of 20 original works celebrating the 20th anniversary of Sadler’s Wells’ current building in Rosebery Avenue – the sixth to be built on the site since the theatre was first established in 1683.

NYDC will deliver experience workshops in 18 cities across England throughout May, June and July. For more information, visit the NYDC website. Participation in the workshops is free, but places must be booked using the online booking formTickets for performances of Used To Be Blonde are available here. 

Botis Seva is the next Guest Artistic Director of National Youth Dance Company

National Youth Dance Company (NYDC), the country’s flagship organisation for young dancers run by Sadler’s Wells, will work with choreographer Botis Seva as its next Guest Artistic Director. NYDC begins its search for the next intake of 30 young dancers to join the company for 2018-19 and work with Seva to create a new dance production, with Experience Workshops taking place across England from next month. The organisation has been granted further support for the two years ahead from the Department for Education and Arts Council England, to continue nurturing the country’s young talent and building the leading dance artists of the future.

Seva takes over from the current Guest Artistic Director, Sadler’s Wells’ Associate Artist Sharon Eyal. Used To Be Blonde, Eyal’s production for National Youth Dance Company, premiered to critical acclaim at Sadler’s Wells earlier this month and is touring across England this summer.

Botis Seva is a dance artist, choreographer and director working within the realms of contemporary dance, physical theatre and hip-hop. He was awarded the Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund and the Marion North Mentoring Award in 2015, and has won two international choreographic competitions: Choreography 30 in Hannover, Germany and Copenhagen’s International Choreographic Competition. Seva’s recent dance credits include InNoForm for the British Dance Edition & Laban Theatre, Woman of Sun for Greenwich Dance & Trinity Laban Partnership Compass Commission, outdoor work H.O.H for Without Walls, GDIF & Norfolk & Norwich Festival and TuTuMucky for Scottish Dance Theatre.

Seva and his collective Far From the Norm have previously performed at Sadler’s Wells with Breakin’ Convention, and curated a Wild Card evening in the Lilian Baylis Studio. In October his work will be seen in Reckonings, a triple bill commissioned by Sadler’s Wells to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our current theatre building, which will also feature pieces by UK-based dance-makers Julie Cunningham and Alesandra Seutin.

Botis Seva, NYDC Guest Artistic Director, said: “I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity to work with National Youth Dance Company. I look forward to sharing my passion for dance with these young performers, and having the opportunity to challenge my own dance language while I am Guest Artistic Director. Having the chance to work with NYDC has always been on my bucket list, and I hope with the support of Sadler’s Wells this experience will truly push me as an artist.”

Experience Workshops will take place across England from May to July. The workshops are an opportunity to find out more about NYDC. Young dancers will take part in a company class, learn repertoire from NYDC productions and take part in creative tasks. Participants will also meet members of the current company, ask questions and get advice on dance training and careers in dance. Experience Workshops are used as an opportunity to be considered for a place in the 2018-19 company. They are open to dancers from all backgrounds and abilities, with experience in any dance style.

Entering its seventh year, NYDC has established a reputation for innovative, challenging and influential work, producing open-minded and curious dancers. The company brings together the brightest talent from across England, immersing the members fully in the process of creating, performing and touring new work, giving them a unique insight into the dance profession. NYDC has a track record of putting young people on paths to successful dance careers, with over 80% of all former NYDC dancers now either in further dance studies, in vocational training or working professionally. Graduates from NYDC have since danced in Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Teaċ Daṁsa, Hofesh II, and the Jasmin Vardimon Company.

In addition to the core programme, NYDC runs additional projects that support dance in communities across the country. Current members will visit Falmouth in May for a residency with local young dancers who are a part of Propeller and Hall for Cornwall Youth Dance. This starts a creation process that culminates in a large-scale outdoor performance at the Eden Project in July. Also, NYDC recently partnered with the inclusive Corali Dance Company to create a new dance film, directed by Paul Davidson (a Corali and NYDC dancer), which has been developed into a workshop for young dancers with regional partners across England.

Sadler’s Wells Nominated for National Apprenticeship Awards

We are delighted to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2018 with two nominations.

Our Human Resources Apprentice Tiegan Hummerston, pictured above, has been nominated for the Creative Apprentice of the Year award with Lewisham Southwark College. Sadler’s Wells has received a nomination for the Apprenticeship Employer of the Year award. Apprenticeships are among a number of opportunities we offer every year to help those who want to develop career in the creative industries, which also include internships, work experience placements and technical placements.

Tiegan said: “I am very grateful and fortunate to be nominated for the Creative Apprentice of the Year award and feel proud to be representing Sadler’s Wells on the evening. During the past year and a half, I have gained so much from my experience at Sadler’s Wells. Before I started my apprenticeship, I had many doubts about my future – which everyone does – but have since grown so much as a person and have learned what is going to be best for me. After my time is up at Sadler’s Wells, I am looking to dive straight into the world of Human Resources careers – while of course staying within the creative and cultural sector, because it’s the best!”

Sadler’s Wells axes use of plastic straws

Creativity and sustainability are central to the future of arts and culture. Which is why, as part of our ongoing commitment to being as green as possible, we have stopped using plastic straws across our venues’ cafes, restaurants and bars. These have been replaced by biodegradable paper straws, which are less harmful to the environment and will now only be available on request. Previously, we were disposing of around 3,000 plastic straws every year at our venues.

“Removing plastic straws is one of many measures we are undertaking to make Sadler’s Wells as sustainable as possible. We are delighted to join the Evening Standard’s campaign to help reduce non-biodegradable waste and raise awareness of this important issue,” said Emma Wilson, Director of Technical and Production and Chair of Sadler’s Wells’ Green Team.

“Other initiatives for our café and bars include replacing plastic cutlery with biodegradable cutlery made from corn starch, and swapping polystyrene takeaway boxes with biodegradable kraft board ones. We are also investigating alternatives to the plastic cups that audiences use to take drinks into the auditorium. We get through an awful lot of those, so we are looking to replace them with something much more sustainable.”

20 commissions for 20 years

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of Sadler’s Wells’ present building. Erected on the same spot where entrepreneur Richard Sadler first established a ‘musick house’ on the site of a mineral spring in 1683, the current theatre, purpose-built for dance, opened in October 1998.

A lot has changed since then, but we are very proud that two things have stayed the same: our determination to work with exceptional artists and our commitment to reaching an ever wider audience through what we do.

Today, Sadler’s Wells is the UK’s national dance house and a large portion of our programme each season is made up of works we have commissioned, produced or co-produced, mainly with our associate artists and companies. What better way to celebrate, then, that commissioning 20 new works for our stages? They include Reckonings, a special triple bill premiering in our anniversary week in October, featuring pieces by three distinct choreographic voices who are creating work for our main stage for the first time: Julie Cunningham, Alesandra Seutin and Botis Seva.

Our 20 commissions also look back at our longstanding relationships with established artists. These include: two new works in William Forsythe’s first full-length programme since his company closed in 2015; the UK premiere of Mark Morris’ acclaimed Layla and Majnun; a new mixed programme created for ballerina Natalia Osipova; and our Associate Artist Akram Khan’s final full-length solo production, XENOS. We also commissioned our newest Associate Artist, Sharon Eyal, to create work for National Youth Dance Company as their Guest Artistic Director for 2018.

Developing dance for and by young people continues to be a priority. We have commissioned two new works for families – balletLORENT’s Rumpelstiltskin and upsidedowninsideout, an immersive, site-specific journey for families. We also launch our inaugural Young Associates programme, designed to nurture young choreographic talent aged 18 to 24, giving them a platform to create new work.

The full list of commissions is:

National Youth Dance Company/ Sharon Eyal
Used to be Blonde

 

balletLORENT

Rumpelstiltskin

 

one step at a time like this

upside down inside out

 

Breakin’ Convention 2018

Jazz Refreshed

 

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan

Formosa

 

Akram Khan Company

XENOS

 

Company of Elders

Mixed Bill

 

Natalia Osipova

Pure Dance

 

William Forsythe

A Quiet Evening of Dance

 

Young Associates

Mixed Bill

 

Julie Cunningham/ Alesandra Seutin/ Botis Seva

Reckonings

 

Jasmin Vardimon Company

New Work

 

Mark Morris Dance Group

Layla & Majnun

 

Nitin Sawhney & Wang Ramirez

Dystopian Dream

 

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui & Antony Gormley

Icon

 

Rambert 2

Mixed Bill

 

Jefta van Dinther

Dark Field Analysis

 

Eva Recacha

New Work

 

Mavin Khoo

From Man to Monk – Part 1

 

Wilkie Branson

TOM

 

We would like to thank The Monument Trust for their generous support of our new commissions.

Join The Movement!

The Lowry, Salford, Birmingham Hippodrome and Sadler’s Wells in London are uniting in a new Arts Council funded initiative called ‘The Movement’ to promote dance across the UK.

These three venues are looking for dance lovers to become their Social Movers – a dedicated team committed to supporting great dance, and keen to share their love of dance with a wider audience online.

Benefits include:

  • Free tickets to selected shows in your region’s Dance Season for the next 12 months.
  • Behind-the-scenes access to some of our most important events of the year.
  • The chance to meet some of the performers and choreographers who work on our productions.

Over the next twelve months, our three venues will be hosting a diverse range of dance productions, including Carlos Acosta‘s new Cuban dance company Acosta Danza, BalletBoyz’s new work 14 Days, Darbar Festival curated by Akram Khan, Matthew Bourne‘s Cinderella, and Birmingham Royal Ballet‘s classic The Nutcracker.

WE NEED YOU!
The Movement is looking for nine special people from the North West, West Midlands and London areas who would be interested in becoming one of our exclusive Social Movers.

As one of our Social Movers you will be invited to come and see live dance events in your region completely free, get to go behind-the-scenes, meet the professionals involved and share your experience by sharing your own videos and social content with others on our The Movement social media channels.

In addition, if you run or are part of a local dance group or class, we want to hear from you too. We will be giving local organisations the chance to have their homegrown talent featured on our social media channels by being directly involved our monthly events, competitions, and even get the opportunity to see some of our productions. We want to hear from everyone from children’s ballet groups to seniors’ movement classes, belly dancers to Zumba class regulars.

If you think you have what it takes, The Movement wants to hear from you!

HOW TO APPLY
We’re looking for passionate, enthusiastic people who love dance and who are social media savvy, so if you fall under one of the categories below we want to hear from you:

The Enthusiast – Are you a seasoned fan of the world of dance who has to see everything and knows almost everything there is to know about dance?

The Student – Are you attending a local training academy or dance school and looking to making dance a career?

The Newcomer – Are you an individual who is entirely new to the world of dance but has a keen interest in learning more, perhaps an amateur dancer in their spare time who enjoys classes during the week?

Regional Dance Organisation – Are you a member of or run a regional dance school, group or class? We are also looking groups who are up for showcasing their collective talents online each month.

Applicants need to submit a one-minute video of yourself telling us who you are, what you do, and why you think you should be a Social Mover.

Here are a few things we are looking for in a successful candidate:

  • Active profiles on social media in particular Facebook, YouTube and Instagram
  • The ability to create fun and engaging social content
  • A tech savvy & creative individual.
  • You’re a proactive and reliable person.
  • Access to your own laptop, camera and smart phone.
  • Able to create at least one piece of content per month and/or attend an event, as well as live in or easily travel to Manchester, Birmingham or London.
  • If you are applying on behalf of a regional dance organisation you must also be based in or near Manchester, Birmingham or London and include a short video of choreography featuring your members and us with any supporting material e.g. website, social media or supporting video links.

We welcome applications from people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, abilities and nationalities. C
Click here to read the Terms and Conditions of the Social Movers programme.

Email your application to themovement@thelowry.com

Successful candidates to be shortlisted after the 15 September 2017 by The Lowry, Salford, Birmingham Hippodrome and the Sadler’s Wells, London.