NYDC

Miriam Levy on life in National Youth Dance Company

Miriam Levy, a current dancer in National Youth Dance Company (NYDC), reflects on her first residency with the company, which took place in October at DanceEast, Ipswich. The cohort worked with NYDC Associate Artist Neil Fleming Brown to bond as a company and to learn the the unique movement style of the company’s latest Guest Artistic Director Sharon Eyal, who they will begin rehearsals with in December. 

My first residency with NYDC was a truly amazing experience and one I think will stick with me for a very long time. Some of my friends from the CAT scheme (Centre for Advanced Training Programme) were joining NYDC with me and before the residency they asked me if I was nervous to which I surprised myself by realising that I wasn’t. Getting into NYDC had been a big goal of mine so once I achieved it I was really excited to start and ready to start a totally new creative process.

Once I arrived, we were really well taken care of and our parents were introduced to NYDC by the staff and returning dancers, who gave us some last minute advice. After this we travelled to Dance East where we went straight from the coach to the studio. We then started by improvising as a whole group to warm up, which was one of the highlights of the residency for me. We were encouraged to watch each other for inspiration as we were moving and I found the other 40 dancers completely inspiring. In that moment and over the course of the residency I would find myself wanting to watch the other dancers more and more as everyone was so talented in different ways. The individuality of the other company members shone through even as we were trying to master Sharon’s very specific style.

Trying to understand how her choreographic style would feel on my body was one of the biggest challenges of the residency for me, as watching videos of her moving reminded me just how different her style is to what I usually encounter in my training. We used to these videos as the start of creative tasks as individuals and in pairs and you could definitely see the progression of the material we made over the three days. Starting to feel like I’m getting to grips with her style made me even more excited for the December residency, where Sharon is coming to start the creation process officially. This residency felt like a taster of the creation process and definitely left me excited for more.

Something that surprised me about NYDC was the intensity of the schedule, and the level of professionalism expected of you as an NYDC member was a new experience for me. NYDC is designed to give you a taste of life in a professional company and one of the key parts of the experience is being in the studio all day every day whilst on residency. This was only a short residency (meaning we only had one complete day in the studio) but the sessions were very physically demanding and it was sometimes hard to maintain your creativity at the end of the long days. Despite this, the atmosphere in the studio was amazingly positive, everyone was completely committed to the tasks we were given and to dancing as best as we could. One of the amazing things about NYDC is that it brings together people who are just as passionate about dance as each other from all around the country. I feel really grateful to have met people from the other side of the country, who I would never have had the opportunity to dance with otherwise. By the second day my roommate and I were having a slightly surreal conversation where we couldn’t believe that we’d only met the day before because we already felt like we knew each other so well!

The 40 dancers on the coach journey back had a very different dynamic to the 40 dancers who met each other at Sadler’s Wells. Everyone’s nerves had completely evaporated and we were chatting and literally singing together the entire journey home. I think we all felt the same sense of satisfaction of the connection we had made over the three days, as well as the dancing we achieved together. I am so thankful to have been given this opportunity, and cannot wait for the next residency.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We hope you enjoy it!

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.

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