When it comes to the world of classical ballet, Natalia Osipova is perhaps one of the most recognisable names and critically acclaimed dancers of her generation. Hailed as a peerless talent and a perfectionist of her craft, her glittering ballet career began with the Bolshoi Ballet at just 18 years old, before becoming a guest artist with American Ballet Theatre and later, The Royal Ballet where she remains a principal dancer. In that time she has danced some of most iconic roles in the classical ballet canon as well as defining roles in new works by leading choreographers such as Christopher Wheeldon, Wayne McGregor and Alistair Marriott.

As she prepares for her next major performance, we reflect back on some of Natalia’s finest career moments to date…

When she made her Royal Ballet debut alongside Carlos Acosta…

Giselle. Natalia Osipova as Giselle and Carlos Acosta as Albrecht at the Royal Opera House, 2014. Credit: Bill Cooper

Natalia made her Royal Ballet debut in 2012 as the leading role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, in a dream pairing with the equally revered ballet dancer Carlos Acosta, as Siegfried. They later returned to the Royal Opera House stage to take the leads in Giselle, a role for which Natalia is perhaps best-known. Cuban ballet icon Carlos has also built a successful career as a choreographer, having most recently presented the debut work of his company Acosta Danza, which was produced by Sadler’s Wells and went on to tour the UK and internationally.

When she performed the title role in The Firebird…

Natalia Osipova as Firebird. Photo: Gene Schiavone/Courtesy American Ballet Theatre.

Whilst she was a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, Natalia created the title role in the world premiere of The Firebird by renowned choreographer and former director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Alexei Ratmansky. Natalia will perform another world premiere by Ratmansky, Valse Triste, as part of Pure Dance this September, inspired by the music of Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Natalia and Ratmansky’s longstanding relationship stems back to their days at the Bolshoi, where he spent four years as artistic director. “He amazes me. He comes ready with everything in his mind, and then we start working and he starts changing things. He is very attentive to every little detail, every bend of the finger. Everything must be done just so,” says Natalia on working with Ratmansky.

When she got a SIX star review…

Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev in Bolshoi Ballet’s Don Quixote in 2011. Credit: Damir Usupov©Bolshoi Theatre

When Natalia stepped out onto the stage at the London Coliseum in the Bolshoi Ballet’s production of Don Quixote in 2007, the ballet critic for the Financial Times, Clement Crisp, was so blown away that he awarded the show not five, but SIX stars. At just 18 years old, Ivan Vasiliev shone as Basilio alongside Osipova as Kitri in this joyous production. It was her first leading role for the Bolshoi after just one year dancing for the company.

When she danced Flames of Paris with Ivan Vasiliev…

Natalia Osipova in Flames of Paris, 2011. Photograph is E. Fetisova © Bolshoi Theatre

In another sensational performance from the Bolshoi Ballet’s golden couple, Natalia and Ivan revived the classic with new choreography by Alexei Ratmansky in 2008 to much critical acclaim, long after it was first performed by the company in 1933. Ivan and Natalia have also experimented with contemporary works, including work by Ohad Naharin, Arthur Pita and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui in Solo for Two. He is not the only ‘Ivan’ to have worked with Natalia, as she will perform Flutter, a brand new work by the choreographer Iván Pérez as part of Pure Dance!

When she danced Giselle with David Hallberg…

Natalia Osipova and David Hallberg in Giselle. Photo: Rosalie O’Connor/Courtesy American Ballet Theatre

Natalia Osipova and David Hallberg are a match made in ballet heaven, but perhaps their most memorable performance together was in American Ballet Theatre’s production of Giselle. In a lucky accident, Natalia was dancing for ABT at the time when her partner got injured and Hallberg stepped in. Like a romantic fairytale, this fateful accident turned out to be the beginning of a long and successful on stage partnership. And even spookier, they share the same birthday on the 18 May! They will be reunited on-stage once again in Pure Dance, celebrating ten years since they first danced together in Giselle. Hallberg will be performing a brand new solo by director Kim Brandstrup as well as the world premiere of two duets with Natalia, by Ratmansky and Antony Tudor.

Natalia Osipova returns to Sadler’s Wells in Pure Dance from 22 – 26 Oct. To book, call the Ticket Office on 020 7863 8000 or book online.


As 2017 comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on the huge successes of the past year, in particular for our Breakin’ Convention team who continue to bring hip hop culture to new audiences around the world through our international festival, youth projects and education programme.

Here’s what the team achieved during the past year.

  • The Breakin’ Convention Festival has visited 16 cities in 4 countries, with a total of 32 shows, each with a unique programme.
  • Shows reached 39,698 people and involved hundreds of local artists.
  • Hosted 5 Open Art Surgeries in 4 cities, in 3 countries involving 80 artists – with several having gone on to perform work at the Breakin’ Convention festivals and beyond.
  • Delivered 5 Higher Learning days covering lighting, sound & technical prep: dramaturgy & choreopoetry engaging over 95 participants.
  • 1 Moving Rap project developing movement for 5 rap artists and 1 Back to the Lab two-week project involving 21 artists.
  • 10 educational projects, featuring many more workshops. These included a music video project involving 30 young people from across London, as well as outreach workshops in schools outside of London.
  • Reached 5 million video views on their YouTube channel BCTV. Watch BCTV here.

Looking ahead, we’re excited to be celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Breakin’ Convention festival in 2018. We hope to see you all there for what will hopefully be another record-breaking year!

Celeb Spotting at Cinderella Gala Performance

With Christmas only a week away, we decided to roll out the red carpet and invite some famous faces to a special one-off performance of Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella at Sadler’s Wells. This star-studded evening was attended by the biggest names from stage and screen including David Walliams, Lily James, Matt Smith, Susanna Reid, Susan Calman, Jeremy Vine and many more.

Take a look at the image gallery above.

Matthew Bourne’s unique take on a classic fairytale transports the audience back to 1940s London, during one fateful night when Cinderella meets a dashing young RAF pilot and are together just long enough to fall in love before being parted by the horrors of the Blitz.

Many performances of Cinderella are now sold out, but you can catch this unmissable show when it will be broadcast to TV screens across the UK on Boxing Day at 5.35pm on BBC2.

Breakin’ Convention break records in America

After breaking box office records on their first Canadian dates in June, Breakin’ Convention, our international festival of hip-hop dance theatre, concluded its triumphant 2017 tour with a return to the USA, presenting 11 shows over four weeks across Charlotte, Denver, Harlem and Miami.

The festival returned to Charlotte’s Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts and Harlem’s Apollo Theater, and was also held for the first time at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami and the Denver Center for Performing Arts. As ever, it featured performances by a mixture of international and local dance artists and offered a rich programme featuring dance workshops, graffiti, DJs and freestyle dance circles.

International headliners included France’s dynamic b-boy crew Yeah Yellow and iconic hip-hop dancer Salah, while South Africa’s Soweto Skeleton Movers performed the high-energy, quick-stepping dance style Pantsula. In three of the touring cities, they were joined by dancer and choreographer Popin’ Pete, a pioneer of the ‘popping’ dance style and founding member of street dance crew Electric Boogaloos. All-female US popping crew Femme Fatale joined Breakin’ Convention for the first time in Charlotte.

Representing the UK was Protocol Dance Company, who presented a powerful duet called I Can’t Breathe. The piece, exploring the theme of power and racial tensions present in communities today, visibly moved audiences. Protocol developed the piece as part of Back to The Lab, one of Breakin’ Convention’s professional development programmes for hip hop artists.

These were incredibly successful dates for Breakin’ Convention, with over 13,000 people attending the whole American tour and the performances receiving over 40 standing ovations. In Denver, 2234 people attended the schools matinee, breaking a new record for the festival.

Next year, Breakin’ Convention will celebrate its 15th anniversary at Sadler’s Wells on 5-7 May 2018. You can book tickets here.

The Snowman celebrates 20th anniversary with star-studded gala

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Snowman being performed at Sadler’s Wells’ West End venue The Peacock theatre, we invited a number of celebrity guests to a special gala performance of the production.

The red-carpet event welcomed VIP guests to a pre-show reception with hands-on craft activities for their children, drinks in the interval and even the chance to meet the Snowman himself. Guests included musician, model and TV Presenter Myleene Klass, actor, singer and presenter Denise Van Outen, comedian Lee Mack, singers Kimberly Wyatt and Leah Wood, radio presenter Edith Bowman, television presenters Esther Rantzen and Gok Wan, actor and model Camilla Ruth

erford, barrister Cherie Blair, tattoo artist Sketch and actors Natascha McElhone, Mathew Horne, Natalie Cassidy, Anna Wilson-Jones and Georgia May Foote.

Bowman wrote on Twitter: “It’s beginning to feel a lot like Xmas. Love the #snowman17 #snowmanshowturns20 @sadlers_wells“, while Van Outen  posted: ‘We loved it! officialthesnowman @sadlers_wells what a fabulous snow ….. I mean show”.

We were delighted that The Snowman’s 20th anniversary stage production received such a warm welcome and look forward to many more fans and families enjoying the show during its run.

The Snowman is at The Peacock theatre until 31st December. You can book tickets here. How well do you know the story and production? Check our 20 facts about The Snowman here.

 Images: Piers Allardyce

Pupils explore solar system through dance

Following the successful premiere of his latest work 8 Minutes on our stage in the summer, Sadler’s Wells’ New Wave Associate Alexander Whitley has worked with Islington pupils to engage them creatively with the science curriculum through dance.

Alexander was inspired by solar science research to create 8 Minutes, a full-length piece combining dance, music and film to investigate concepts such as gravity, orbiting and magnetism through movement. Supported by our Learning and Engagement team, his eponymous dance company devised workshops to be delivered alongside the stage production.

In October, the company spent a week at the Gillespie School in Islington, one of Sadler’s Wells’ associate schools, working with a class of year-5 students to explore the similarities between artistic and scientific processes and using each of them to shed light on the other. The aim was to introduce the children to often abstract and complex scientific concepts by illustrating them through the medium of dance.

The participating class worked with two professional dancers from Alexander Whitley Dance Company, as well as a scientist and a choreographer, to explore solar science and specifically the themes of planets, scale, magnets and orbits through choreography. At the end of the week, the students presented their work to the whole school.

In November, the class performed in our Lilian Baylis Studio to an audience including parents, patrons of Sadler’s Wells and our Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding. Alongside the students’ performances, the evening included a speech from Alexander Whitley about the project, a Q&A with Alexander and the students, and the performance of a short excerpt of 8 Minutes.

We were proud to support this project and work closely with Alexander to encourage primary school students within our local community to approach their science curriculum in a creative way, and to emphasise the role of dance in inspiring curiosity, imagination and knowledge in young people.

Images by Stephen Wright

Sadler’s Wells participates in Japan conference on how art benefits the elderly

Sadler’s Wells staff and members of our Company of Elders discussed how the arts benefit the over 60s at an international conference in Japan in September. The four-day World Gold Theater Kickoff symposium at the Saitama Arts Theater featured workshops and panel discussions with performers and speakers from Japan and the UK, who shared programming and best practice, as well as exploring the role of ageing communities in the arts. Besides Sadler’s Wells, other UK organisations in attendance included London’s performing arts centre the Albany and Entelechy Arts, a participatory arts company working with older people from diverse communities.

Our Director of Learning and Engagement Joce Giles, Lucy Clarke-Bishop, Projects Producer in the Learning and Engagement team, three members of our Company of Elders – Betsy Field, Chris Havell and Catriona Maccoll – and the company’s rehearsal director Simona Scotto gave a presentation on Sadler’s Wells’ over-60s programme. They shared an overview of our work with the Company of Elders, our outreach activities, including the Silver Routes community group, and the Elixir Festival, which celebrates lifelong creativity and the achievements of older dance artists. Joce also took part in a panel discussion alongside David Slater, director of Entelechy Arts, which was chaired by Yoshiyuki Oshita, chief director of the Center For Arts Policy and Management for Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting. The debate looked at how theatres’ future programmes could focus on creative opportunities for elderly people.

Simona led a Company of Elders’ taster session and three introductory dance workshops designed for the local over-60 community in Saitama. There were 20-30 participants in each workshop, who were given the chance to learn introductory dance skills and some of the Company of Elders repertoire.

Sadler’s Wells’ relationship with Saitama Arts Theater is a long-term one, centred on a shared vision of connecting older audiences with dance. The Japanese theatre’s late artistic director, Yukio Ninagawa, founded Saitama Gold Theater, an over-55 theatre company that has been performing and touring internationally since its inception in 2006. Saitama Arts Theater has also been involved in ambitious community engagement: in 2016 it delivered the 10,000 Gold Theater project, which saw 1,600 professional and non-professional performers over 60 from the local community perform a new production at Saitama Super Arena.

We were thrilled to be able to discuss how arts and culture can contribute to elderly people’s mental and physical wellbeing with international colleagues. We look forward to continuing our work with the Saitama Arts Theater and other like-minded organisations to support and promote lifelong creativity worldwide.

To find out more about Company of Elders, visit the website

Sadler’s Wells supports young people to start a creative career

Sadler’s Wells has collaborated with London Legacy Development Corporation and Create Jobs for the second consecutive year to deliver the Creative Opportunity Programme – offering east London residents aged 18-30 information, inspiration and guidance on careers in the creative industries. Twenty-six young people joined the two-week programme in September, where they took part in workshops, visited arts organisations across London and were given practical advice on applying and interviewing for entry-level roles.

The programme aims to introduce young people to a wider range of opportunities and careers in the creative and cultural sector, from digital marketing to costume design, and provide them with the skills, insight and confidence to successfully apply for jobs.

Over the two weeks, the participants visited a number of cultural venues, hearing from members of different departments within each organisation, gaining an insight into the sector and any entry-level jobs, internships and apprenticeships available. Organisations taking part in the programme included Sadler’s Wells, Whitechapel Gallery, the V&A, Stratford Circus Arts Centre and The Backstage Centre, a production venue in Essex.

The workshops focused on employability, networking skills and professional impact. The young people learnt how to match their specific skills with job descriptions, how to perform in interview and assessment exercises and how to create a professional profile.

The group benefited from a confidence building session with Dramatic resources, a specialist training organisation that draws on theatre and performance techniques to enhance communication skills, as well as from a workshop from marketing consultancy Co-Relate, who worked with the group to create a live marketing campaign for Spitalfields Music, a music charity serving the local community in Tower Hamlets.

We hope that the programme will have inspired and emboldened the participants to pursue a career path within the arts and cultural sectors, and we are delighted that a number of participants have already gained employment and signed up for sessions with the National College Creative Industries. One participant has recently joined Sadler’s Wells as a Visitor Services Intern as part of the STEP programme – a 12 month paid internship where interns undertake placements at two London-based creative organisations.

Images: Francis Augusto Photography

Over 60s enjoy Caribbean inspired social at Sadler’s Wells

Our Lilian Baylis Arts Club (LBAC) helps those over 60 connect with the arts and our Sadler’s Wells programme. Participants have the chance to hear talks from dancers, choreographers, designers and singers and to take part in workshops. Over the summer, members of the club enjoyed activities such as a trip to the Islington Museum to see the Sadler’s Wells archive, and heard a talk by Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding about the Autumn 2017 programme.

In partnership with All Change, a charity which delivers innovative arts projects that bring together artists and communities in north London and beyond, LBAC threw a special Caribbean-inspired Rub-a-dub social celebrating the end of the summer term. ‘Rub-a-dub’ is a style of reggae developed in the late 1970s preceding dancehall.

The event included a dance workshop by Candoco, a dance company comprised of disabled and non-disabled dancers with a focus on rethinking what dance is and who can dance. Candoco has been working with residents of The Mildmay Extra Care Centre and they were joined at the workshop by Hackney Elders Group, the Holloway neighbourhood group and the African and Caribbean Senior Citizens organisation at Mildmay Community Partnership.

Donald Edwards, Co-Founder of Phoenix Dance company and RJC Dance Theatre, ran a workshop engaging participants with rock’n’roll, calypso, reggae and ska dance.

Tony Nwachukwu, member of the trip-hop band and production outfit Attica Blues, provided the music whilst the members took over the dancefloor to show off some of their best moves. There was also a delicious rum cake, baked in the Sadler’s Wells kitchen, for everyone to enjoy!

The event was a fantastic send off after a packed summer term for the club, and we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back for the autumn term!

 Find out more about how to get involved in our Lilian Baylis Art Club here.


Images: Lauren Matthews for All Change

Sadler’s Wells hosts Cinderella-inspired supper club

To celebrate the return of Sadler’s Wells’ Associate Artist Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella on our stage this festive season, we are hosting a number of special pre-performance supper clubs. adidas nmd Held on the Mezzanine level, Supper at Sadler’s transports diners back to 1940s London, the evocative setting of Bourne’s war-time romance. Mochilas Kanken Online From the Union Jack bunting, to the floral table settings and even the ration book-style menus, diners will be immersed in a vintage wonderland. new balance homme Supper at Sadler’s runs before performances of Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella on selected dates between 12th December and 27th January 2018.