NYDC

SADLER’S WELLS ENGAGES YOUNG PEOPLE IN DANCE WITH FREE SUMMER SCHOOLS

We believe dance has a vital and transformative role to play in education. It improves children and young people’s mental and physical wellbeing, including by inspiring creativity, boosting self-confidence, increasing self-awareness and developing discipline, communication and team-working skills.

As part of our work to embed dance in young people’s lives, Sadler’s Wells recently ran a summer school with the National Youth Dance Company (NYDC), and delivered dance workshops at the East Education Summer School. Both projects were designed to offer memorable and inspiring opportunities for children and young people to experience and engage with dance.

On International Youth Day, we speak to some of the young participants in the two summer schools to ask about their experience.

Summer School with NYDC

From 29 July to 9 August, we offered 19 students from seven of our Associate Schools in Islington, Newham and Tower Hamlets the chance to experience a ‘week in the life of’ NYDC and its current Guest Artistic Director Botis Seva, with bespoke workshops led by members of his company Far From the Norm.

Spotlight centre, in Poplar E14 6GN.   Students will come from Tower Hamlets, Islington, Newham and Haringey

At the beginning of the week, a young participant interviewed Associate Choreographer Jordan Douglas, shining a light on his approach to teaching and take on the role of dance in empowering young people.

What will you be facilitating in the workshop?

“During the course of the week, participants in the NYDC summer school will be taught by a different member of Far from the Norm each day. We will be teaching and introducing dancers to the foundations of different street styles such as house, locking, krump, popping and breaking. We will also be teaching sections from MADHEAD, Botis Seva’s recent production for National Youth Dance Company, as well as works from the company. I will be focusing specifically on house dance and gestural phrases from MADHEAD.”

NYDC Summer School participants.

How do you prepare the young people for the week? Can you describe your approach?

“I start by teaching the students some of the basics of house dance, so we look at groove and footwork. As there is a mixed level of ability in a class, being able to have an adaptable framework is very important in order to get the most out of a session. During the workshop, one of my top priorities is getting the young dancers to interact with each other. This way, you’re creating an environment that is a safe space, which allows the students to feel confident no matter what the challenge is.”

How does dance educate, inspire and empower young people?

“The feeling of learning something new, of working on it, watching it improve and then being able to perform it, is a great one. This, as well as the freedom to express yourself through dance, is very empowering. The creativity within dance can really offer a much-needed break from their standard school subjects and daily activities.”

NYDC Summer School participants with Associate Choreographer Jordan Douglas.

Why is dance a useful/important form of expression for young people to explore?

“The medium of street dance is a lot more connected to youth. Street dance is easily accessible: it’s online, in music videos and at the forefront of fashion. Being able to share a common language takes us one step further to being able to help young people open up to dance.”

At the end of the week, we asked some of the young participants to share some thoughts:

What did you learn during your week at the Summer School with NYDC and Far From The Norm?

“I learnt a lot on how to develop myself as a dancer, but also on how to open up more to things that are difficult.”

“It was interesting to learn about new dance styles, and also to see how professional dancers work.”

“My favourite part was engaging and getting on with people as well as taking on new stuff that was given. I learned more about working together, but also having to learn quickly and keeping up at a fast pace.”

What three words would you use to describe how you felt before the workshop?

“Nervous, scared, anxious”

“Shy, inexperienced, insecure”

“Interested, anticipating, open”

What three words would you use to describe how you felt after the workshop?

“Optimistic, determined, confident”

“Creative, happy, educated”

“Courageous, challenged, proud”

NYDC Summer School participants.

East Education Summer School

During a free, two-week programme held at Here East in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, young east Londoners were given the opportunity to take part in a host of activities and classes delivered by world-leading organisations. These included the six institutions that will be part of East Bank, a new cultural and education district being developed in the park: Sadler’s Wells, the BBC, UAL’s London College of Fashion, UCL and the V&A in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution.

East Education Summer School promotional flyer. Image: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

As part of the summer school, Sadler’s Wells hosted workshops in African dance, led by our Learning & Engagement team, and in rap, grime, music, theatre skills and dramaturgy, led by our Breakin’ Convention team. An evening trip was also arranged during the week for the young participants to enjoy Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet, a new production performed by our Resident Company New Adventures. 

We asked some of the participants from Breakin’ Convention’s hip hop theatre workshop to share some of their highlights from the programme.

What was your favourite part of the workshop?

“Showcasing what I’ve got!”

“Having a good time.”

“Meeting new people.”

“Spitting some hard bars!”

“Learning new things.”

“Destroying the stage.”

“Embracing ourselves.”

East Education Summer School participants from Breakin’ Convention’s hip hop theatre workshop pictured with mentors. Image: Theo Godson

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

Botis Seva: “We should feel the power of all of them on stage.”

We speak to the Olivier Award-winning choreographer and Guest Artistic Director of NYDC about giving young people a voice through dance.

 “It’s just a massive privilege,” says choreographer Botis Seva on his recent Olivier Award win. His talent was spotted early through his participation in Breakin’ Convention’s artist development programmes; it was here he was introduced to our wider artist development team, and later invited to curate an evening in the Lilian Baylis Studio. This led to Sadler’s Wells commissioning his first main stage work, BLKDOG, which premiered on our stage in October 2018. The piece received huge acclaim and, only a few months later, the ambitious young choreographer found himself collecting an Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall. 

“It felt very weird because I wasn’t expecting to win,” he says humbly. His fellow nominees were all illustrious names in the world of dance, including the Royal Ballet, Ballet British Columbia and the mighty William Forsythe. “It’s quite weird being up against him – someone whose work I’ve seen and been like ‘wow’,” says Botis. 

So how did he celebrate his success? Sipping champagne with theatre royalty at the after party? He went straight home for a cup of tea and biscuits. “I had no time to let it sink in because I was working with NYDC on another show. That’s my job, innit!”

The next morning he was back in the studio to continue rehearsals with the 38 young dancers of National Youth Dance Company (NYDC), of which Botis is this year’s Guest Artistic Director. “Everyone started clapping,” he says, “I think they were in shock.”

NYDC, a project run by Sadler’s Wells, auditions the brightest young dance talent aged 16-24 from across the UK each year for the opportunity to gain experience of working in a professional dance company and collaborating with a well-established choreographer on creating a new dance work. Previous artistic directors have included Akram Khan, Jasmin Vardimon, Damien Jalet and Sharon Eyal. 

Botis’s creation, MADHEAD, is a piece that reflects the experiences of the young dancers. “It’s about their generation and what the future could look like. That is the question that I have for the piece. What’s the future for young people growing up in this kind of society?”

National Youth Dance Company perform MADHEAD by 2018-19
Guest Artistic Director Botis Seva © Tony Nandi 2019

“It was a weird process because we had a short amount of time to make the work,” he says. “For me the process started by questioning myself: how did I feel when I was 17 and where was my brain at?”

It was also a collaborative process with the company, which involved Botis interviewing the young dancers. “They felt like they didn’t have the same respect or teachers didn’t give them the same kind of respect. There’s a concept in that which we’re exploring. A lot of them feel frustrated at being called young people and how they get treated.”

This experience of working with a young company echoes his own experiences of getting into dance growing up. He started going to classes in Elephant and Castle after Tony Adigun, founder of Avant Garde Dance, ran a workshop in his school. “I had nothing else to do so I just went to these classes that were happening.” 

Botis cites Tony Adigun as an early role model. “Meeting him was kind of a big revelation,” he says. He encouraged Botis to audition for his youth company and “after that,” Botis says “I started to take it seriously”. It wasn’t until later when he started teaching at a local youth club, that Botis began cutting his teeth as a choreographer.

Tony’s influence can be felt in Botis’s own style as a choreographer, which is difficult to define. “I call it free-form hip hop,” he says. “There’s a mix of contemporary and African dance. I can’t really give it a title, but I use free-form hip hop as a base. I can’t really label it anything else.” 

As a young, black choreographer with influences from hip hop, he feels he hasn’t escaped certain associations. “That happens all the time. Sometimes it’s not even about my blackness. I don’t use that excuse. I’ve made that work because I feel a certain way,” he says. “Maybe because it’s labelled as hip hop or it’s seen as hip hop, [people think] oh it must have something to do with knife crime. BLKDOG wasn’t really about that. For other people it seemed like it was about that. Technically the hoods don’t really mean it’s about gangs.” 

So how does he feel about the future of hip hop? “It is changing because there are loads of artists taking it in different avenues, but I don’t know if it has the same respect. I think people might appreciate it more, but it is going to take some time to land.” 

His movement language exists somewhere at the centre of a Venn diagram of contemporary, African and hip hop dance – but there is something else uniquely Botis that comes in to play. There is a darkness, both aesthetically in the stark, dimly lit staging, and thematically, tackling subjects such as mental health, the responsibilities of adulthood and the struggles of being an artist. 

The trailer for MADHEAD feels straight out of a dystopian drama like Black Mirror, which coincidentally Botis is a fan of. He credits cinema as a big influence on his work. “I’m into psychological thrillers, mind-bending stuff. I love that,” he says. But for Botis, the most important thing about MADHEAD is the opportunity to hear what this generation has to say.

“It’s a new voice within young people and I think they’re trying to say something. People need to be there to witness it. They’re trying to communicate some of their frustrations about today’s society and they should be heard. We should feel the power of all of them on stage.”

National Youth Dance Company performs MADHEAD on tour, concluding at Sadler’s Wells on 19 July. Visit www.nydc.org.uk for full information and tickets.

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

National Youth Dance Company announces Guest Artistic Directors for 2019 – 2021

Our resident National Youth Dance Company (NYDC), home to some of the country’s brightest young dance talent, has appointed its next two Guest Artistic Directors: Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Russell Maliphant in 2019-20 and acclaimed choreographer Alesandra Seutin in 2020-21.

The company will begin creating a new commission with Russell Maliphant in autumn 2019. He takes over from current Guest Artistic Director, the Olivier award-winning dance artist Botis Seva whose work for NYDC, MADHEAD, premiered at DanceEast in Ipswich on 20 April. MADHEAD tours to six further venues across England this summer, closing at Sadler’s Wells on 19 July.

Now in its eighth 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.

National Youth Dance Company 2018-19

Russell Maliphant, NYDC Guest Artistic Director 2019/20, said: “I am very happy to be working as the next Guest Artistic Director for National Youth Dance Company. NYDC provides great opportunities for young dancers to develop in to world class performers – I have seen this in action over the years and have personally worked with some of that talent in my own company.  I’m looking forward to starting this season with another new generation of dancers here in the UK.”

Alesandra Seutin, NYDC Guest Artistic Director 2020/21, said: “I am very excited and honoured to work with National Youth Dance Company as Guest Artistic Director in 2020/21. I look forward to breaking boundaries with the dancers of the future, and having the opportunity to be part of this beautiful process is amazing. With the support of Sadler’s Wells, I hope to continue growing as a leader and a maker collaborating with NYDC to keep its reputation for innovative, challenging and influential work, producing open-minded and curious dancers.”

About the new Guest Artistic Directors

Russell Maliphant established his own dance company in 1996 as the framework to create productions and work with his own ensemble of dancers. Since then, he has received two Olivier awards, three South Bank Show awards and four Critics’ Circle National Dance awards. He became an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells in 2005.

Russell’s work has been performed by renowned dance artists including Sylvie Guillem, BalletBoyz, Munich Ballet and English National Ballet, for whom his piece Second Breath was part of the critically celebrated programme Lest We Forget. Two graduates of NYDC, Edd Arnold and Folu Odimayo, make up part of the Russell Maliphant Dance Company and can be seen performing in Silent Lines at Sadler’s Wells, on 18 & 19 October.

Performer, choreographer and teacher Alesandra Seutin grew up in Brussels and lives in London. She studied dance internationally and continued her training at the École des Sables in Senegal as a student of Germaine Acogny. She is now a worldwide ambassador of the Acogny technique and teaches at École des Sables and globally. In 2007, she founded Vocab Dance Company, and has progressively built an international reputation for creating thought provoking and visually striking performances. 

Alesandra presented Boy Breaking Glass as part of Sadler’s Wells’ 20th anniversary commission, Reckonings, in October 2018 alongside works from Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate Julie Cunningham and current NYDC Guest Artistic Director Botis Seva.


NYDC has begun its search for the next intake of 30 young dancers to join the company, with NYDC Experience Workshops taking place across England until 8 July.

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 dance talent and to build on the dance artists of the future.

For full NYDC tour dates and tickets for MADHEAD, click here.

ON THE ROAD WITH PRODUCING & TOURING

Sadler’s Wells produces an eclectic mix of world-class dance shows and tours them both at home and abroad. At least 10 of our productions are presented on stages worldwide each year, showcasing styles as rich and varied as tango, salsa, hip hop and contemporary dance.

Since 2005, our productions have toured to over 300 venues in more than 200 cities in 48 countries, with over 2,100 performances enjoyed by audiences of over 1.9 million across the globe.

On International Dance Day, we go behind the scenes for an exclusive look at productions we are currently touring, speaking to the people who produce our shows to find out just what it takes to bring them on the road and onto world stages.

National Youth Dance Company: MADHEAD

National Youth Dance Company dancers. Image: Manuel Vason

What?
Under the creative direction of acclaimed 2018-19 Guest Artistic Director and Olivier award winner Botis Seva, our National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) – comprising 38 of the UK’s best young dancers – premiered its new work MADHEAD in Ipswich on 20 April. The show blends contemporary dance, physical theatre and hip-hop, combining Botis Seva’s choreographic style with the young dancers’ energy and talent to deliver an enthralling and energetic performance.

Where?
From June, the production embarks on a national tour across Plymouth, Newcastle, Essex, Brighton and Birmingham, closing at Sadler’s Wells on 19 July.

Who?
NYDC General ManagerHannah Kirkpatrick.

Can you describe producing MADHEAD in one word?
Inspiring.

Challenges?
As with all NYDC productions, the challenge is also part of what makes NYDC. Just by nature of the company, it is a huge challenge: a full-length work developed in just 4 weeks, with high production values, with almost 40 young people, all with different training backgrounds and dance styles. It needs to be a work that is strong enough to stand alongside professional work in some of the leading theatres in the country. We don’t want people to think that work by young people is lesser in any way; it just has a different energy.

Personal highlights?
I think Botis and the Far From The Norm artists (Vicky, Jordan, Ezra and Joshua) have been inspiring role models for the company. We were on residency when Botis won the Olivier Award for best dance for his work BLKDOG. They had been rehearsing with the company all day, got changed in the dressing rooms at Sadler’s Wells and then went to the awards ceremony. And then the next day they were back in the studio at 9am warming up. That dedication and work ethic is really inspiring for our company dancers to see. It sets the standard and I think that’s really important.

NYDC in rehearsal for MADHEAD, February 2019

It’s also a highlight to see the dancers’ faces when they do a run and it goes well and they feel the high of performance. Seeing that they are proud of what they have done and seeing them starting to own the piece as theirs, that’s pretty special.

William Forsythe’s A Quiet Evening of Dance

Brigel Gjoka and Riley Watts in DUO2015. Image: Bill Cooper

What?
Forsythe continues to innovate in this FEDORA award-winning production of new and existing works, stripping dance back to its core, rawest form. Performed by seven of his most trusted collaborators, the dance roster is extensive, technical and multi-dimensional as the result is intimate, personal and free from clutter.

Where?
A Quiet Evening of Dance has just toured in Germany – it will continue to tour Europe, appearing in Oslo in May and at the Venice Biennale in June.

Who?
Assistant Producer, Florent Trioux.

Can you describe producing A Quiet Evening of Dance in one word?
Special (in the best possible way).

Challenges?
This piece is touring over 21 weeks this year. With a team of seven international dancers and three British technicians, it involves a huge amount of international logistics. The team is composed of American, German, Albanian, British, Canadian nationalities, and we had to overcome some challenging situations in order to bring some of these people into the UK, not only for the production of the show but also during its tour.

An early-stage technical run of A Quiet Evening of Dance in Brescia, Italy

During production it was difficult to manage our expectations. We had no idea what would become of the piece. Bill has a very specific creative process and I don’t think he knew himself. It was hard to foresee how the programme would be structured a few days before the premiere, or what music would be used in parts of the show. It’s like working in the dark, but being very excited about it!

Personal highlights?
Having the honour to meet and work with Bill Forsythe has been a fantastic working and human experience. He is a creative genius and an amazing human being. The people he brought together for this project are all very unique and have amazing personalities. We’re like a family.

I have seen this show over 10 times already and I am still always looking forward to seeing it again in a different place. It is such a tasteful and clever piece. When our Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding said “William Forsythe changed my view of what dance can be”, I understood why, because he did it for me too.

Natalia Osipova: Pure Dance

Natalia Osipova in Yuka Oishi’s Ave Maria.
Image: Johan Persson

What?
In Pure Dance, superstar ballerina Natalia Osipova brings together a handpicked programme of exciting and eclectic dance works. Through a medley of five elegantly breath-taking pieces, which see her accompanied by three exceptional dancers, Pure Dance takes the audience on a journey from the world of classical ballet through to a more contemporary repertoire.

Where?
Pure Dance premiered in London last autumn and has recently toured to New York. ”Ms Osipova, a principal at the Royal Ballet in London, uses the program to cultivate new partnerships: with other dancers and with choreographers she has handpicked to showcase the range of her artistry,” said the New York Times’ review. Next up will be Lyon, France, in June.

Who?
Senior Producer, Ghislaine Granger.

Can you describe producing Pure Dance in one word?
Jigsaw-puzzle.

Challenges?
It was tricky scheduling rehearsals involving four very busy dancers, on top of six equally busy choreographers, as well as the creative teams around each piece. There were a lot of people and places to juggle!

Pure Dance poster at New York City Center

Personal highlights?
Getting a personal thank you from each artist involved – that was a real treat.

Yang Liping’s Rite of Spring

Yan Liping’s Rite of Spring. Image: Li Yijan

What?
Choreographer Yang Liping is known as the “Peacock Princess” in her native China. This affectionate nickname stems from her most famous dance work, Spirit of the Peacock, inspired by the traditional peacock folk dancing of her youth. In this stunning new work, a Sadler’s Wells’ co-production, she reunites with Oscar-winning designer Tim Yip to create a unique take on Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring – utilising the iconic score alongside original compositions inspired by traditional Tibetan music. Returning to her roots for this piece, Yang’s sacrificial Chosen One takes the form of a peacock.

Where?
Following its world premiere in Shanghai in October, the production will embark on a global tour in cities including New York and Amsterdam, making its UK premiere at Sadler’s Wells in May.

Who?
Farooq Chaudhry, Producer.

Can you describe producing Rite of Spring in one word?
Unpredictable!

Challenges?
Trying to reimagine a story and make it relevant and accessible to western audiences, while respecting and retaining the Chinese context and aesthetics that have driven the creative process. That and the awful dilemma of trying to transform Yang Liping’s vision without changing her! 

Yan Liping’s Rite of Spring premiere in Shanghai, October 2018.

The biggest producing challenge is always finding an authentic alignment between intention, action and context.

Personal highlights?
Watching and discovering a relatively inexperienced young cast grow and flourish and knowing this work has made a big difference to Chinese contemporary dance. 

Yang Liping (in red) and Farooq Chaudhry on stage at the Rite of Spring premiere in Shanghai, October 2018.

Go behind the scenes at Sadler’s Wells with #DancePassion

We’re excited to be part of #DancePassion – a new festival organised by BBC Arts in collaboration with One Dance UK, showcasing extraordinary dance from the four corners of the UK. As part of the live streaming day on Friday 5 April, we’re taking you behind the scenes at Sadler’s Wells to join exceptional dance-makers as they create and rehearse three works at different stages of development. We’ll be live streaming all the action on the Sadler’s Wells Facebook page and at www.bbc.co.uk/dance


Live from Sadler’s Wells
Friday 5 April

1.30pm
Akram Khan Company

Our Associate Artist Akram Khan invites you in to a rehearsal for his new company production, Outwitting the Devil. Drawing inspiration from the most recently discovered tablet from the Epic of Gilgamesh, Akram and his collaborators are creating the narrative of six characters seeking to make whole the fragments of ancient knowledge lost and forgotten over time.

3pm
English National Ballet

Dancers from our Associate Company English National Ballet rehearse Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Broken Wings, based on the life and art of Frida Kahlo. It’s one of three pieces featured in She Persisted, a programme of work by female choreographers performed at Sadler’s Wells on 4 – 13 April. She Persisted continues English National Ballet’s commitment to showcasing women’s voices in dance, and follows 2016’s celebrated She Said programme.

4pm
National Youth Dance Company

National Youth Dance Company is made up of 38 talented young dancers from all over England who are keen to make their mark on the dance world. Eight dancers from the company rehearse their new work MADHEAD with Olivier-nominated choreographer Botis Seva, this year’s Guest Artistic Director. Drawing on Botis’ unique movement language of physical theatre and hip hop, and on the exuberant, impulsive energy of youth culture, MADHEAD makes its world premiere at Ipswich’s DanceEast on 20 April, followed by a national tour culminating at Sadler’s Wells.

You can watch all the action live on the Sadler’s Wells Facebook page and see the full #DancePassion schedule on www.bbc.co.uk/dance

Akram Khan Company, English National Ballet, One Dance UK and Sadler’s Wells are among Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations. National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) is supported using public funding by the Department for Education and Arts Council England.

My first NYDC residency: I feel achy, accepted and privileged

National Youth Dance Company (NYDC), the UK’s leading incubator for young talent run by Sadler’s Wells, has started to rehearse its new piece, MADHEAD, under Botis Seva’s artistic guidance. The ensemble had their first residency at DanceEast in Ipswich in October. Among them is Harriet Musgrove, a 18-year-old dancer coming from Exmouth in Devon. Following the residency, she shared her thoughts on how it feels to be a NYDC dancer.

“Prior to the first residency, I felt a variety of emotions: I was anxious, excited, tense and also quite overwhelmed! I can remember walking through the doors of Sadler’s Wells and all the other 37 members of the company had already arrived. But everybody welcomed and put me at ease immediately – it was a great feeling!

We arrived at DanceEast in Ipswich after travelling from Sadler’s Wells and headed straight into the studio, where Botis Seva and his dancers Jordan and Joshua greeted us. We were thrown straight into the deep end with some challenging repertoire and some crazy improvisation tasks. Even after the first day of the residency, I felt incredibly inspired by the energy of Botis and his team.

NYDC first residency. Image: Manuel Vason

A typical day during an NYDC residency begins with a warm up led by members of the company followed by six hours of dance class with Botis and his team. Training was interspersed with breaks to re-energise and recharge our bodies. Our days would end with our Zen for Ten, which gave us time to reflect and write down anything we wanted to – an exercise I really appreciated. We also had something called Toolbox sessions, extremely insightful discussions led by the NYDC team each evening about auditions and applications for dance schools.

I left the first residency feeling very achy, yet accepted and privileged to be part of NYDC. My aim for the next residency is to absorb as much information as possible from Botis, and also learn from all the dancers around me. They all move so powerfully! I am so excited for the upcoming year and I can’t wait to see how the piece will turn out!”

MADHEAD will premiere at Dance East in Ipswich on 20 April 2019, followed by a nationwide tour and a final performance at Sadler’s Wells on 19 July 2019. 

Header Image: Manuel Vason

National Youth Dance Company announces new cohort

The National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) has started to work with 2018-19 Guest Artistic Director Botis Seva on a new piece titled MADHEAD.

Twenty-eight new members – 19 female and nine male – were selected through experience workshops held throughout the UK over the summer. They joined ten returning dancers from last year to form a company of 38.

Image: Manuel Vason

Far From The Norm Artistic Director Botis Seva will lead this new cohort. His appointment followed the world premiere of his recent highly acclaimed piece, BLKDOG, commissioned as part of Sadler’s Wells’ 20th anniversary’s triple bill, Reckonings (Oct 2018), which also included works from Julie Cunningham and Alexandra Seutin. Seva has also recently collaborated with filmmaker Billy Boyd Cape to produce Reach, a short film commissioned by Sadler’s Wells as part of Channel 4’s Random Acts series.

The company will premiere MADHEAD at Dance East in Ipswich on 20 April 2019, followed by a nationwide tour and a final performance at Sadler’s Wells in July 2019. The new commission will blend contemporary dance, physical theatre and hip hop.

Established in 2012 and run by Sadler’s Wells, NYDC is the UK’s flagship company for young dancers aged 15-24, bringing together and nurturing the brightest talent from across the country with the aim of shaping the future of dance.

NYDC’s dancers are mentored during four intensive residencies in school holidays to rehearse the new piece. Read here new member Harriet Musgrove’s personal reflection on the company’s first residency held at DanceEast in Ipswich in October.

What the NYDC programme offers to its young members is a unique insight into the dance profession and the invaluable opportunity to collaborate with professional dance artists and their creative teams. The year-long experience in the company has proved successful in providing dancers with the necessary skills and techniques to find career opportunities. Over 80% of NYDC alumni have either gone on to undertake further dance studies or work professionally at established dance companies such as Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Cullberg Ballet, BalletBoyz and Rambert2.

Find out more about NYDC and its upcoming projects at https://nydc.org.uk/

The 28 new dancers for NYDC 2018/2019 are:

Selako Jade Ackuaku, Berkshire (17)
Harvey Burke – Hamilton, Epsom (17)
Kendra Chiagoro – Noel, Ealing (18)
Erin Dallas, East Grinstead (17)
Sekou Diaby, Brixton (17)
Karim Dime, Hampstead (23)
Maia Faulker, Brighton (16)
Sarah Golden, Horfield (17)
Mark Halton, Ambleside (16)
Orla Hardie, Bath (17)
Connor Humphreys, Thatcham (17)
Ethan Hurip, Brighton (16)
Kit Ibbott, Great Bington (18)
Hannah Joseph, Stratford (16)
Ewelina Kosinka, Ashford (18)
Florence Lennon, Brighton (17)
Amelia Long, Nunhead (17)
Sandra Maduoma, Kelvedon (17)
Faye McLoughlin, Montpellier (17)
Mathilde Mellor, Lewes (16)
Harriet Musgrove, Exmouth (18)
Zara Philips, Greasby (17)
Ned Ratcliffe, Helston (17)
Anna Smith, Lingfield (18)
Millie Smith-Hashim, Saltdean (16)
Mollie Stebbing, Erith (18)
Harry Wilson, Intake (17)
Grace Young, Hull (18)

This new intake joins the 10 returning NYDC dancers:

Gemma Baker, Wantage (17)
James Cooper, Blackpool (17)
Daisy Dancer, Hexham (17)
Lola Evans, Brighton (17)
James Hall, Cambridge (17)
Samara Langham, Nunhead (18)
Eleanor Roberts, Dartmouth (17)
Esme Tothill, Brighton (16)
Paul Davidson, West Dulwich (21)
Beth Gardiner, Wollaton (24)

Header Image: Manuel Vason

NYDC and Corali deliver inclusive workshops inspired by dance film

Last summer, National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) teamed with Corali Dance Company to create a short dance film. It was directed by Paul Davidson, a Corali dancer who has been with NYDC for two years.

Paul has autism and was interested in creating a piece of art with an inclusive cast of disabled and non-disabled dancers. The film and accompanying documentary were created over a three-day residency. The final result was Escape the Nowhere, a piece following a young man trapped in a maze that creatively explores the idea of parallel co-existing perspectives and realities.

With the finished product in hand, Sadler’s Wells have worked with Paul, NYDC alumni and Corali to develop a two-hour workshop that uses the film as a stimulus for the making and exploration of new movement. In tandem, the film was screened across the country enjoying success at venues and events from Croydon to Durham.

Zara Rush, Creative Producer at Corali Dance Company was optimistic the partnership: “Corali Dance Company were delighted to act as inclusive lead for this partnership with NYDC. The project grew from strength to strength and enabled young people to find their artistic voice, take the lead and share practice. It’s been great to see how young dancers across the country have gone on to explore the themes from Escape the Nowhere in the projects legacy workshops and how they’ve made new creative discoveries for themselves.”

You can see the video documenting the creation process here:

The workshop series was delivered in tandem with key regional partners. Magpie Dance were the first to experience the session and their co-Artistic Director Natasha Britton has spoken about the experience

“We were thrilled to welcome NYDC alumni Paul and Kennedy, who delivered two-hour workshops to both our junior and youth groups on day one of our Easter intensive.

The workshops were confidently delivered and rich with creative challenges, all pitched at an appropriate level for our dancers with learning disabilities. The creative tasks they chose all linked back to the dance film made by Paul, Escape the Nowhere. Having watched the film, this allowed our participants to really engage with the theme and the process.

After the workshops, the facilitators at Magpie Dance supported the Easter School participants to further develop the ideas they had explored, leading to the creation of their own piece. At the end of the third and final day, family and friends were invited to watch Escape the Nowhere and our piece inspired by it. The participants and their families were hugely grateful for the opportunity to use such a powerful dance film as a stimulus and work with such exciting visitors.”

Click through to learn more about Corali Dance Company and Magpie Dance

Photo credit: Natasha Mansfield-Osborne
Video credit: Tobi Meneses

Inspiring Future Theatre Day: Over 400 Young Dancers Prepare to perform at Eden Project

On Inspiring Future Theatre Day, we’re excited to announce a performance by over 400 young dancers that will take place at Eden Project in Cornwall on 17 July, in collaboration with National Youth Dance Company and Dance Republic 2.

Space Time will see 41 of the most talented young dancers in England from the National Youth Dance Company travel to Cornwall to take part in this unique dance event, joining young dancers from 10 Cornwall schools and the ‘Propeller’ young dancers training programme.

Throughout the afternoon, the Eden Project’s Mediterranean Biome will host performances by the young dancers, specially created for the space.

Each dance group will explore a particular theme related to space or time, located across chosen sites at the Eden Project such as the Lime Steps, Spiral Garden and Avenue of the Senses, culminating in a spectacular finale with 450 young people dancing on and around the bridge near the Core Building.

The finale to the piece was choreographed by dancers and artists from National Youth Dance Company during a residency at Falmouth University in May, and is now being taught to primary school children all over Cornwall in preparation for the performance next month.

Elaine Foley, Projects Manager for Learning & Engagement at Sadler’s Wells, says: “The National Youth Dance Company residency at Falmouth University in May was brilliant. We loved meeting all the dancers from Propeller and were so impressed by all the material they learned in just two days. In the spirit of Inspiring Future Theatre Day, much of the choreography was taught by NYDC dancers themselves or generated in groups using improvisation. Everyone was open-minded, hard working, and brought loads of creative ideas to the session. It was a beautiful example of artistic practice driven by young people. We couldn’t be more thankful to Propeller and AMATA at Falmouth University for the opportunity to bring everyone together in this way. It’s going to be amazing seeing it all come together at Eden Project later this month!”

Space Time begins at 1pm on 17 July, with the finale at approximately 3.30pm.

There’s also a chance to see National Youth Dance Company on tour this summer with their latest work Used To Be Blonde choreographed by Guest Artistic Director Sharon Eyal. Upcoming performances include Latitude Festival on 14 July, AMATA Falmouth on 18 July and Brighton Dome on 20 July. Find out more here.

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.