News

Sadler’s Wells has a Big Lunch in the Park

On Sunday 5 June, Sadler’s Wells joined  the Big Lunch celebrations by presenting dance to a large audience in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Over 8,000 people took part in the Big Lunch in the Park event in east London, enjoying a picnic, performances and free activities for all the family.

As part of the day, Sadler’s Wells presented a performance of Motionhouse’s Captive, an exciting blend of dance, acrobatics and aerial work set inside a large cage.

Sadler’s Wells signs up as Fit to Dance Space

Sadler’s Wells has joined a number of dance venues in adopting the Fit to Dance Space Charter, a new standard for dance audition and rehearsal spaces developed by performers’ trade union Equity and One Dance UK.

The ten-point charter sets out the minimum requirements to be met by large and small-scale dance venues across the UK in order to be recognised as Fit to Dance Spaces. A voluntary scheme, the initiative aims to promote safe spaces for performers – celebrating good practice, encouraging better practice and informing dancers, choreographers, teachers and producers on those venues committed to providing environmental conditions suitable for dance.

Emma Wilson, Director of Technical and Production at Sadler’s Wells, said: “We are delighted to support the Fit to Dance Space initiative. The safety, health and well-being of dance professionals are paramount to what we do, and we welcome the Charter and the setting of minimum standards for the venues where dance is created and performed.”

More information is available on the Equity website.

Sadler’s Wells hosts EU referendum debate

In the run up to the EU referendum on 23 June, we invited four high-profile speakers to make their case in a public debate at Sadler’s Wells on 23 May.

Former Deputy Mayor for Culture Munira Mirza and Dr Peter Chadha, Deputy Chairman of Business for Britain, London, argued for Brexit, while Shadow Leader of the House of Commons Chris Bryant MP and barrister and Women’s Equality Party candidate Harini Iyengar explained why they believe the UK is stronger in the EU.

The free event – moderated by Financial Times commentator and Chatham House fellow Quentin Peel and attended by nearly 100 people – gave the audience an opportunity to hear arguments both in support of and against British membership of the EU, and ask questions to the panellists on the impact of a potential Brexit on issues such as trade, immigration and the arts.

National Youth Dance Company celebrates Get Creative Day at Sadler’s Wells

On 2 April, hundreds of arts and cultural organisations in the UK marked Get Creative Day. Part of the BBC’s Get Creative campaign, the event celebrated and encouraged participation in arts, culture and creativity across the country.

At Sadler’s Wells, National Youth Dance Company members invited people to join them in the foyer for a group improvisation. Audiences, many of them children and young people, danced along or simply travelled with the dancers as they performed throughout the building. A measure of the success of the day was the transition of some visitors from shy spectators to enthusiastic participants – from entering the building,  in the space of less than half an hour they were jumping, crawling, clapping and moving with the 40 NYDC dancers.

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The company also offered the public the opportunity to learn a sequence inspired by its new work In – Nocentes, created by leading choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan, which had its world premiere at Sadler’s Wells on 7 April.

NYDC is jointly funded by Arts Council England and the Department for Education from the National Lottery and Grant in Aids funds.

 

Images: National Youth Dance Company dancers lead the group improvisation at Sadler’s Wells. Photo: Giulia Ascoli

Sadler’s Wells, The Lowry and Birmingham Hippodrome form new partnership

Sadler’s Wells, The Lowry and Birmingham Hippodrome have joined forces in a new collaborative producing partnership, supported by an Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence fund, to develop and deliver an ambitious programme of high-quality large-scale dance.

The Movement is a dynamic partnership among three of the country’s leading dance venues. Through a two-year pilot initiative that has been awarded a grant of £749,948, the partners aim to nurture dance talent and reach and develop new audiences for dance through a programme of work that will be co-produced by the three venues.

The Movement launches at Birmingham Hippodrome on 17 and 18 May with Dance: Sampled, the first production to be presented under the auspices of the partnership, as part of the International Dance Festival Birmingham 2016. Dance: Sampled is inspired by the popular Sampled format first pioneered by Sadler’s Wells, which offers audiences a taster selection of different dance styles all in one programme. The production will then run for two nights at The Lowry in February 2017.

The line-up includes Company Wayne McGregor, Birmingham Royal Ballet, BBC Young Dancer finalist Vidya Patel, world tango champions German Cornejo and Gisela Galeassi from Buenos Aires, French hip hop company Pockemon Crew and Faun, by Sadler’s Wells’ Associate Artist Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

“We have been working with The Lowry and Birmingham Hippodrome for a number of years,” said Alistair Spalding, Sadler’s Wells’ Artistic Director and Chief Executive. “I am delighted that we now have a great opportunity with The Movement to build on this relationship and work more closely to commission and stage ambitious dance together, helping to support talent and inspiring large audiences across the UK.”

National Dance Awards are announced

The 2015 Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards were announced during a ceremony at The Place today, with many of Sadler’s Wells associate artists, companies and friends featuring among the worthy winners.

Our Associate Artist Crystal Pite received the award for Best modern choreography for her epic work Polaris, produced by Sadler’s Wells as part of its Thomas Adès: See the Music, Hear the Dance programme.

The Outstanding company award went to our irrepressible Resident Company New Adventures, with their brilliant dancer Zizi Strallen receiving the Outstanding female performance (modern) award for her portrayal of Lana in Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man.

Our Associate Artist Wayne McGregor won the Best classical choreography award for Woolf Works, created for the Royal Ballet, while flamenco dancer Israel Galván was given a special award for exceptional artistry.

Finally, our Associate Artist Sylvie Guillem was honoured with the De Valois award for outstanding achievement, in recognition of her extraordinary career. She shared the award with Caroline Miller, who was recognised for her 10-year tenure as Chief Executive of Dance UK.

Many congratulations to all!

For a full list of nominations, visit londondance.com

 

Image: Crystal Pite’s Polaris, by Andrew Lang

New Year’s Honours list recognises Matthew Bourne, Tamara Rojo and Christopher Wheeldon

Sadler’s Wells’ Associate Artists Matthew Bourne and Christopher Wheeldon and Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director of Sadler’s Wells’ Associate Company English National Ballet, received a knighthood, an OBE and a CBE respectively as part of the 2016 New Year’s Honours list. Our warmest congratulations to all!

Innovative online project reveals artists’ dance portraits

On Monday 4 January, Sadler’s Wells launched 52 Portraits, an online project by choreographer Jonathan Burrows, composer Matteo Fargion and video maker Hugo Glendinning, which sees a portrait of a different artist being released every Monday throughout 2016.

The 52 subjects are drawn from the vibrant UK dance scene, as well as from the many international companies visiting Sadler’s Wells during the course of the year. Each portrait takes the form of a very personal dance, filmed with the artist sitting at a table and accompanied by a song based on their biography, inspired by a tune of their choice. Participants span all ages, disciplines and cultural backgrounds and include both well-known performers and makers and younger artists.

52 Portraits builds on the success of the Olivier Award-nominated The Elders Project, created by Burrows and Fargion for the Elixir festival presented at Sadler’s Wells in September 2014. Like The Elders Project, this new initiative represents an epic love song written to an art form, while at the same time revealing the stories, thoughts and struggles of dancers in an unprecedented way.

Subscribe to receive a weekly portrait direct to your inbox at www.52portraits.co.uk52 Portraits is supported and produced by Sadler’s Wells.

 

Image: still from the portrait of artist Kwame Asafo-Adjei.

Breakin’ America: bringing hip hop dance theatre to the US

Breakin’ Convention brought its trademark hip hop dance theatre spectacular stateside in October with a successful tour to New York and North Carolina.  The line-up presented by the renowned Sadler’s Wells festival included breakdance crew The Ruggeds, dancer and choreographer Antoinette Gomis, hip hop duo Compagnie Phorm and dance company BirdGang.

The first stop was Blumenthal Performing Arts in Charlotte, North Carolina. The arts centre embraced the project wholeheartedly, working closely with the Breakin’ Convention team and truly making the festival their own.

“Breakin’ Convention has been this unifying event in the community that brought together people from all walks of life,” said Tom Gabbard, President of Blumenthal Performing Arts. “That’s probably always an important thing, but at this unique moment in time, in our country, I think those kind of unifying activities are more important than ever.”

Breakin’ Convention will return to Charlotte for the next two years, building of this success and acting as catalyst for the continued development of hip hop theatre in the region.

The team then went to Harlem’s Apollo Theater in New York – where it had toured for the first time in June 2013 to great acclaim. It was a second opportunity for Breakin’ Convention to take hip hop theatre to the birthplace of hip hop and promote the development of the art form in the US. The atmosphere in the Apollo Theater was electric and the festival was not only loved by the audience, but also an emotional experience for the dance artists, who felt humbled by the chance to follow in the footsteps of so much African-American jazz, soul, funk and hip hop talent by performing on stage.

In his review of the event in The New York Times, Alastair Macaulay wrote: “It’s to be hoped that Breakin’ Convention — first and last seen here two years ago — becomes as established in New York as it is in London.”

 

Image: Jonzi D and Boris ‘Bluz’ Rogers host Breakin’ Convention at the Levine Center for the Arts’ Knight Theater in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo: Daniel Coston

Sadler’s Wells announces Spring/ Summer 2016 programme

A new contemporary programme commissioned for Russian ballet star Natalia Osipova, horses and a multi-installation experience with no dancers all feature in Sadler’s Wells’ upcoming season.

The Spring/ Summer 2016 season was announced at our Annual Press Conference today. Here are some of the highlights.

RESIZED 3 Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant, Arthur Pita_Natalia Osipova_29 June - 3 July_© Nikolai Gulakov

Russian ballet star Natalia Osipova takes a leap into the world of contemporary dance in a triple bill specially commissioned for her, co-produced by Sadler’s Wells and Moscow’s Muz Art Management Company.

The production features choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Russell Maliphant, who are Associate Artists at Sadler’s Wells, as well as Arthur Pita. Dancer Sergei Polunin also appears in the programme.

RESIZED 4 Michael Hulls Nitin Sawhney Lucy Carter_No Body_7 - 12 June_© Nick Hillel

In an unprecedented exploration of lighting, sound and projection, in June we turn our building inside out for the world premiere of No Body. This series of immersive, multi-sensory installation works will bring together the essential elements of a dance performance – without the physical presence of dancers.

Lighting designer and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Michael Hulls invites the audience onto the main stage to experience LightSpace, an immersive installation challenging our mood and senses.  Composer Nitin Sawhney, also a Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist, creates a music, sound and animation trail, while lighting designer Lucy Carter presents pop-up installations in unusual spaces around our building.

GOLGOTA - Nouvelle creation de Bartabas - Avec : Bartabas et Andres MARIN - Aux Haras d Annecy - Le 07 10 2013 - Photo : Nabil BOUTROS/WikiSpectacle Mention et droits obligatoires pour la presse Nationale - WIKISPECTACLE : 01 40 28 08 90

In March, horses join dancers onto the Sadler’s Wells stage for the UK premiere of Golgota by French artist Bartabas.

The breath-taking work, featuring flamenco dancer Andrés Marín and dramatic Gregorian chants, is inspired by the theatricality of sacred rituals such as the Holy Week in Seville, Spain.

 

Other exciting highlights of the upcoming season include new work by Associate Artists Akram Khan, Crystal Pite and BalletBoyz, Associate Company English National Ballet, our New Wave Associate Alexander Whitley and circus company The 7 Fingers, as well as work by international companies Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch and Rosas. More details on the new season are available here

The Spring/ Summer 2016 season goes on sale at 10am on Monday 9 November. www.sadlerswells.com

 

Photo: Sadler’s Wells’ Chief Executive and Artistic Director Alistair Spalding (centre) with dancers Sergei Polunin and Natalia Osipova.