Sadlers Wells - Dance House

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It is doing this not only by bringing new dance pieces to the stage but by supporting a great raft of rising artists and trying to help them make the work that will define the future of dance. So it has announced that Sharon Eyal will be added to its list of associate artists which already includes choreographers of world renown such as Russell Maliphant, Wayne McGregor, Crystal Pite and Matthew Bourne.

One of the most interesting female choreographers at work today, she will bring four new works to the theatre this year, including one for the National Youth Dance Company. It's also appointing three more New Wave associate artists, choreographers at an earlier point in their careers, full of interesting ideas and great promise. This year's new wavers include former dancer Julie Cunningham, who has just formed her own company; Project O, consisting of the London-based duo Alexandrina Hemsley and Jamila Johnson-Small who specifically examine racism and misogyny in their work; and L'Atisse Roden, whose background is in hip-hop dance.

Even more excitingly, there are four newbie choreographers, right at the start of their careers, who will become young associates: Anthony Matsena, Wilhelmina Ojanen, Ruby Portus and Christopher Thomas. Those names might not mean anything to you now. They don't mean much to me and I spend half my life watching dance. But by being given support to make work, to develop their bold ideas, to find their artistic voices at this early stage of their development — they are all really just out of dance schools of various kinds — there's a chance that they will go on to be as famous as William Forsythe and Mark Morris, just two of the choreographers who are bringing pieces to Sadler's Wells this year.

I love the fact that faced with what most dance-goers know is a worrying gap between the emergence in of Hofesh Shechter as the new star of contemporary dance and today, artistic director Alistair Spalding hasn't just wrung his hands, but he has acted. We have also had many requests for information from staff at Sadler's Wells Theatre itself. Below : Dame Ethel Smyth , English composer and a leader of the women's suffrage movement.


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Below: Press article describing a performance of Baffled in The launch of the catalogue and accompanying publicity has also brought forward donations from the public. Meanwhile, these acquisitions will be added to the catalogue and work on the collection still continues, especially cataloguing material to item level where practical.

City Histories: Sadler’s Wells

A few years later, Choplin left to take up a post at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. He has been responsible for programming at the theatre since February when he joined as Director of Programming. Upon Alistair Spalding's appointment as CEO, the theatre expanded to become a production house, as well as a receiving house. Internationally renowned artists such as Sylvie Guillem and Akram Kahn were introduced as associate artists at the Wells, allowing joint collaboration on new works.

The competition runs for four years, with winners each receiving a cash prize and an invitation to perform at Sadler's Wells Sampled , an annual showcase of the best in dance from around the world. The first winner was Shu-Yi Chou, a year-old choreographer from Taiwan.

Sadlers Wells Theatre refurbishment - Architizer

From its humble beginnings in the 17th century, Sadler's Wells continues to entertain and educate, innovate and inspire new generations of audiences and performers alike. The earliest document on display is a pamphlet dated and the most recent is a programme for Sadler's Wells summer production of Matthew Bourne's Play Without Words , which was delivered, as part of a larger deposit, by theatre staff only two days ago! And, of course, further details of the material held in the collection can be accessed via the online catalogue also see link below.

The catalogue is being hosted on the Archives Hub , which also details other special collections held at Islington Local History Centre. The contents of the Sadler's Wells catalogue will be added to on a weekly basis.


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  • While the bulk of the collection is recorded to sub-series and, in many parts, file level, we are working towards listing all material to at least file level and, where practical, item level. Publication of the catalogue will, for the first time, give researchers the opportunity to see the large variety of material housed in the collection. Some of our previous blogs have highlighted a few of the treasures discovered while sorting and listing, as well as some of the more unusual items that have surfaced after being hidden for many years and, in some cases, centuries.

    Now, a greater overview is available.

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    Complimenting the launch of the online catalogue, from 10 September until 20 October , Islington Local History Centre is hosting a display about the newly catalogued collection. It will also showcase material from the collection, including our earliest item - a rather gruesome murder notice - dating to ; this was featured in an earlier blog.

    Spalding wanted to focus the entire theatre around dance, from renting studio space to filling up the performance programme to driving community and outreach projects. Why dance? Because, he believed in it. He had started out as a programmer in regional theatre, where he found himself enjoying modern dance more than anything else. Dance felt like a happening art form, a cool place to be. The immediate problem, though, was not direction but survival.

    In stepped Jayasekera. Target two was the Christmas season, which they trumpeted. It was also about establishing an identity and a reputation.

    Alexander Whitley Dance Company – Overflow

    In short, about building a brand. We had a broad definition of that, and commercial dance was certainly included in the spectrum. That really expanded our audience, because we could bring in hip-hop or tango or flamenco alongside contemporary dance or modern ballet. Alongside sorting the finances and establishing an identity, the third part of the plan was symbolically perhaps the most significant.

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    To that end, he appointed six associate artists. It was a bold step. And though several venues particularly on the smaller scale had associate or resident artists, the tendency was to support up-and-coming choreographers on the path towards establishing a company of their own. But their success was down to the pieces, not the publicity: critics raved about the works, and so did audiences. They were, in short, just the ticket. We began to attract a lot more attention. Everyone in the theatre was very excited, and the whole operation really lifted.

    Turning the Wells around

    We started to get a grip on the programme, and managed to get the Peacock turned around, with fewer dark nights and better shows. And the rest, as they say, is history. It was a calculated risk. Jonzi already had a vision of bringing hip-hop dance to the theatre stage when he first met Spalding at the South Bank Centre, and convinced him that there was a huge potential audience for it. The results speak for themselves.

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