Young Associates

Our family of associates is growing!

Artists are the lifeblood of Sadler’s Wells. Our productions and our theatre wouldn’t exist without them. Today, we are delighted to announce new additions to the Sadler’s Wells family.

Sharon Eyal becomes our newest Sadler’s Wells’ Associate Artist. One of the most original choreographic voices in contemporary dance, Sharon made her Sadler’s Wells debut with OCD Love in 2016, which received critical and public acclaim. There are four opportunities to see her work this year: her piece Bill is part of Ballet British Columbia’s triple bill in March.; the world premiere of her work as Guest Artistic Director of NYDC, Used To Be Blonde, is in April; Love Chapter 2, her latest production for her company L-E-V, has its UK premiere in July; and her piece Killer Pig is part of Rambert 2’s programme in November.

Speaking about her appointment, Sharon said: “L-E-V’s last two creations were co-produced with Sadler’s Wells, which was a fantastic vote of confidence from the theatre. This year, as well as bringing Love Chapter 2 here in July, another fortune has been bestowed on me by Sadler’s Wells – working with the National Youth Dance Company. I’m known as an emotional person – but working with those young people brought me to a new level of emotion, fulfillment and a genuine sense of purpose. L-E-V means heart in Hebrew – and this project shows what a big heart Sadler’s Wells has. So it’s with great honour and excitement that I receive this appointment of Associate Artist. For me, Sadler’s Wells was always one of the dance summits – now I’m privileged to reach and be part of it.”

We are committed to supporting artists at every stage of their career and to nurturing the pipeline of future talent. This encompasses the promising young performers in the National Youth Dance Company, early career artists consolidating their work in our Lilian Baylis Studio, our New Wave Associates and our more established Associate Artists. However, we have identified the need for more support to be given to those at the very outset of their dance-making careers, those who have just left higher education with a desire to establish their choreographic voices early on. So we have launched a new initiative, the Young Associates programme, supporting talented young people aged between 18 and 24, and providing a crucial first step into their career as choreographers.

The first Young Associates are: Anthony Matsena, Wilhelmina Ojanen, Ruby Portus and Christopher Thomas. We are supporting them in a variety of ways, including with production time in our studios and theatres, providing advice and networking opportunities. The Young Associates present a mixed bill of work later this year in the Lilian Baylis Studio.

Image: Anthony Matsena, Christopher Thomas, Ruby Portus and Wilhelmina Ojanen

We have also appointed three more artists as New Wave AssociatesJulie Cunningham, Project O and L’Atisse Rhoden. Julie Cunningham recently launched her own company after 15 years of dancing with the iconic Merce Cunningham Dance Company and Michael Clark Company. Her work employs text and movement, and is concerned with gender identity. Project O is a collaboration between artists Alexandrina Hemsley and Jamila Johnson-Small. Their work explores the body as a site of politics, considering the impact of colonial history in the UK today. L’Atisse Rhoden comes from the hip hop dance theatre community. Introduced to us by our Breakin’ Convention team, she trained with dance companies Avant Garde Dance and Botis Seva’s Far From the Norm. A solo artist and director of the female collective 25, her work is heavily influenced by surrealism.

Image: Julie Cunningham, L’Atisse Rhoden, and Project O’s Alexandrina Hemsley and Jamila Johnson-Small

Alistair Spalding, Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive, said: “Supporting artists and their creative journeys is at the very heart of what we do. I’m delighted to welcome a new collection of artists to our stable today, marking our commitment to long-term investment in artists at every stage, from fledgling choreographer, to the emerging, mid-scale and the most established artists. It is absolutely fitting that in our 20th anniversary year, we look to the future with our Young Associates initiative, addressing the need for more support to be given to those at the very outset of their dance making careers.”

We are thrilled to welcome these artists to our associates’ family and look forward to seeing their work on our stages soon!