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 These have been replaced by biodegradable paper straws, which are less harmful to the environment and will now only be available on request.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





one step at a time like this

upside down inside out


Breakin’ Convention 2018

Jazz Refreshed


Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan



Akram Khan Company



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



Jasmin Vardimon Company

New Work


Mark Morris Dance Group

Layla & Majnun


Nitin Sawhney & Wang Ramirez

Dystopian Dream


Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui & Antony Gormley



Rambert 2

Mixed Bill


Jefta van Dinther

Dark Field Analysis


Eva Recacha

New Work


Mavin Khoo

From Man to Monk – Part 1


Wilkie Branson



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.

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!

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

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

Works for me: A foot in the door

Winner of the 2016/17 Apprenticeship Award for the Best Work Placement/Intern Jade Leatham, tells us how participating in LLDC’s Creative and Cultural Opportunity Week, helped her land a role at Sadler’s Wells as Community Engagement Intern.

“I’m from Walthamstow and went to De Montfort University in Leicester to study a degree in arts and festival management.

Dance has always been my driving force. When I left uni I picked up bits of work and I was getting interviews but just couldn’t get a full-time role. Then I came across the Creative and Cultural Opportunity Week and managed to get a place. It started at Sadler’s Wells and then moved to places like Whitechapel Gallery, Stratford Circus and Here East.

There was amazing moral support and really focused on everyone’s individual needs. A lot of us needed that – it was really insightful to have mentors to help you figure out what to do next. It was good to talk to people in similar situations. You create a network just by being there.

The hardest thing about the arts is getting a foot in the door. The workshop week led to my internship at Sadler’s Wells for a six-month community engagement role. My role involved going into local communities and schools and introducing them to dance in different ways. It was impossible not to enjoy it.

After my internship I’ve now secured a role as an international examinations administrator at the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. The internship gave me the confidence I needed to push myself to the next level. Lots of people are capable of doing the jobs that are out there – you just need to prove you can actually do it.

I’m really passionate about getting people engaged in dance and I want to get my enthusiasm across. In the long-term I want to use all my skills and set up my own thing, although I’m not sure what that will be yet.”

Click here to find out more about the next Creative Opportunity Programme.

Young people create rap-inspired mural for Graffical 2017

Budding young rappers and aspiring creatives came together over June half term for Graffical 2017, a two-day workshop led by our Breakin’ Convention team.

A group of 13 to 16-year-olds from across London took part in the project, which aimed to engage young people with rap lyricism and spark their creativity through writing and visual art.

Mentored by rappers and educators Poetcurious and Kingpin, participants analysed their favourite rap songs, exploring the social and political issues addressed by the lyrics, as well as the personal meaning the words had to them. Alongside this, they worked on writing their own lyrics with the purpose of inspiring their families and communities.

The group also collaborated on a mural, which is on display at Corker Walk behind the Andover Estate in Islington, north London. Overseen by graffiti artist Mr Dane, the teens brought their words to life by incorporating themes from their lyrics into the sprayed work. Graffical 2017 was a huge success and the mural is a truly vibrant addition to its surroundings.

Thanks to Islington Word Festival for helping to fund the project and Lyrix Organix for collaborating with Breakin’ Convention to deliver it. We are also grateful to Samir from Emirates Stadium and Jacqueline Robinson from Islington Council who supported the project.

Image: the mural realised as part of Graffical 2017 at Corker Walk off the Seven Sisters Rd in Islington.


NYDC tours nationwide and announces new Guest Artistic Director

National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) is touring the UK this summer performing Tarantiseismic, a powerful exploration of melancholia, ritual, control and abandon by choreographer and current Guest Artistic Director Damien Jalet. The tour sees NYDC visiting six different venues, including a performance at Latitude Festival in Suffolk, before returning to Sadler’s Wells for the company members’ graduation from the programme at the end of July.

The production is going to be performed in Plymouth, Newcastle, Leicester, Birmingham and Ipswich, ending its run in Hull on 20th July. Alongside the tour, the company is also running experience workshops to engage hundreds of young people in dance. During the sessions, participants learn repertoire from NYDC productions, meet members of the company and receive advice on dance training. A new group of dancers for the 2017-18 programme will be selected based on these sessions.

NYDC has also announced Sharon Eyal as its new Guest Artistic Director for 2017-18. Jerusalem-born Eyal danced with Batsheva Dance Company between 1990 and 2008 and worked as its associate artistic director (2003-04) and resident choreographer (2005-12). In 2013, she founded L-E-V dance company with collaborator Gai Behar. L-E-V made its Sadler’s Wells’ debut with OCD Love in September 2016. Eyal will be leading the new NYDC cohort in the creation of its next production, which will premiere in spring 2018.

Sharon Eyal said: “I am so excited and thrilled to work with the National Youth Dance Company as Guest Artistic Director. I am looking forward to discovering what the new group of dancers can do, and cannot wait to create work together. I’m also thrilled to work with Sadler’s Wells again, who have supported my work previously with L-E-V. It is great to continue our cooperation.”

Alistair Spalding, Sadler’s Wells’ Artistic Director and Chief Executive, said: “Sharon made a great impression on audiences last year when she debuted in the UK with her dance company L-E-V at Sadler’s Wells. She has a distinct approach to her choreography by working collaboratively with dancers to bring the work to stage, which will be important for collaborating with the National Youth Dance Company and giving members the opportunity to shine. Sharon’s style in her work, such as the use of club music, will tune in to the experiences of the young NYDC dancers, and no doubt produce something very special for audiences to see.”

Image: NYDC in Tarantiseismic, photo by Tony Nandi.

Tapping into Michelle Dorrance

We spoke to Michelle Dorrance, founding member of tap sensation Dorrance Dance, about her career to date and the inspiration behind her work.

1. Tell us a bit about Dorrance Dance, how did the company come about?
The truth about what elements in my life led me to establish Dorrance Dance: I danced for almost too many New York City-based tap dance projects, companies, and choreographers from my late teens through my mid-twenties. I developed a solo career during that time as well, which extended through my time performing with STOMP in my late-twenties. I simultaneously started playing bass in my best friend’s band (Darwin Deez – who had some great songs in rotation on BBC Radio 1 not too long ago!) and we toured the US, UK, parts of Europe and Australia, before I realized I was trying to do WAY too much. It wasn’t until I broke my foot at the age of 30 that I was struck with how pertinent it was for me to put my vision for the possibilities I saw in tap dance, and in very specific tap dancers, first. This timing was met with a great opportunity to premiere new work at New York City’s beloved Danspace Project and the company was formed!

More formally, I created Dorrance Dance in hopes to share the incredibly dynamic range that tap dance has to offer; in order to engage with audiences on a musical and emotional level through dance; in order to spread the great history and legacy of this American art form throughout the country and the world. Of course, I love experimenting, creating my own work, my own choreography, my own compositions, but I love sharing the brilliant individual voices and styles that are pushing the form forward today.

2. How did you first become interested in tap dancing?
By 8 years old there was nothing I loved more than tap dance. What could possibly be more exciting than being a dancer and a musician at the same time?! My mother was a professional ballet dancer and I studied at her school from age 3 to 17. During this time, I was incredibly lucky to have Gene Medler as my tap teacher and mentor. He sought out the living masters of our form (people like “Honi” Coles, Buster Brown, “Peg Leg” Bates, Jimmy Slyde, The Nicholas Brothers, Cholly Atkins, who at the time were in their 70s, 80s, and 90s) and he took us all over the United States to study with them. He is a master educator and taught us the history of tap dance, its cultural significance, and its unique nature as both a form of movement AND music. I performed throughout the States and internationally with his North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble (NCYTE) for 10 years and I am the dancer I am today, because of him.

3. ETM: Double Down uses electronic boards to add to the sounds of your footwork, can you tell us about how this works? What does this add to the performance for you as a performer?
ETM: Double Down features what is essentially an electronic drum kit for the feet, designed by my choreographic collaborator, co-creator, and dear friend, Nicholas Van Young. Each small board that we play with out feet (we call them trigger boards) is connected to a computer and can be assigned any sound, note, instrument, anything you can imagine! Then, the entire set can change! Nicholas originally designed this particular way of interfacing with the technology in order to compose music live WHILE dancing/soloing to it. What we have been exploring in ETM: DD is the way our percussive composition/choreography for our feet can interface with a musical composition, where sometimes the dance is literally the dance of playing ONLY the melody or baseline of a song, and sometimes the dancers straddle the playing of a few notes each in order to make up the entire composition, while simultaneously executing separate tap choreography/percussive score. When you are in the midst of it, it is totally mind-blowing.

4. As well as using the electronic tap boards, ETM: Double Down also features live musicians. What’s the process of creating a dance piece so integrated in music? Are the musicians involved from day one?
First and foremost, we work with some very special musicians who love and respect tap dance and have a tremendous sensitivity to its collaborative, percussive compositional element. The development of the original music that we use in ETM happened in a myriad of ways so I’ll give you a number of fun examples: Nicholas Young, my co-choreographer composed some of the oldest segments in the show and was working on those before choreography started. He was the only composer around for “day one”. Greg Richardson, our bassist, composed a brilliant work for fun while we were in the creative process for ETM: The Initial Approach, never intending to have to play it live, but we absolutely fell in LOVE with it so he adapted the entire build of it to his looping pedal in tandem with dancers playing a repeating patterns on trigger boards that shift every 20 counts!

When we realized how we wanted to introduce ETM: Double Down to the audience conceptually and logistically, we asked one of our dancers, Warren Craft (who is also an electronic music composer), to work on the very opening segment for the show with very specific guidelines in relationship to how many trigger boards we could move with x number of dancers on stage at once. Once we were working on a section we call “piano” (in which 16 boards are lined up side by side), Donovan Dorrance, our pianist/controllorist (also my brother), composed an entire piece with the direction of dancers’ movement up and down a scale, toward and away from one another, in mind. And our vocalist, Aaron Marcellus IMPROVISES compositions (literally composing live every night) by layering his vocals on top of themselves using a Nintendo wi-mote. The compositional process for this show is incredibly arduous, but also extraordinarily rewarding!!

5. You were here at beginning of the year, performing an extract of ETM: Double Down as part of Sampled. What are you most looking forward to about performing the full ETM: Double Down at Sadler’s Wells?
We are most looking forward to connecting to, engaging, and ROCKING with the beautiful people of London, sharing with you all what we love most, illustrating how cutting edge and sophisticated tap dance is and inspiring less familiar audiences to see the endless possibilities in it! The extract we performed for “Sampled” was a tiny glimpse into only the acoustic section of the show. We are using this technology on a scale and in a way that has never before been done and we are SO EXCITED to bring this work to London and are honored to be performing at Sadler’s Wells!

You can see Dorrance Dance in action 12 – 15 July. Click here for more details.

Herb planting at Sadler’s Wells

At Sadler’s Wells, we have a Green Team that makes sure that all we do is as environmentally friendly as we possibly can. The team is responsible for overseeing the implementation of our Sustainability Action Plan and meets regularly throughout the year to review progress and discuss new ideas on how to further improve our environmental performance.

One of these ideas was for us to have our own, Sadler’s Wells-grown herbs. And so it was that Emma, our Director of Technical and Production and Chair of the Green Team, and Elsa, Administrative Assistant of the Visitor Services & Estates team, came in early one recent morning to haul around sacks of compost in our courtyard and plant parsley, sage, thyme, marjoram, chives and mint in a brand new planter built by Ghion, our resident carpenter in the Building Services team. The wooden herb planter is on wheels, so that it can be moved around to make the most of the sun.

Those summer mojitos will taste even better, knowing the mint comes from our own, mini herb garden!


Image: the new herb planter in the Sadler’s Wells courtyard.

Sadler’s Wells soaks up the sun and turns it into electricity

What better way to celebrate the summer than giving your photovoltaic cells a good clean? That’s exactly what Sadler’s Wells has done this week, as we prepare for the summer months. With average highs of 28 degrees this weekend, the solar panels will be working overtime to gather as much light as possible to turn in to sustainable energy.

Find out more about Sadler’s Wells’ sustainability policy on our website.


Image: solar panels on the roof of Sadler’s Wells’ building in Rosebery Avenue, Islington, London.