National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) continues to work digitally with the new 2020/2021 cohort

3 Mar 2021

Run by Sadler’s Wells, the country’s flagship company for young dancers, National Youth Dance Company (NYDC), has completed its second fully digital residency for the 2020/2021 cohort, led by Guest Artistic Director Alesandra Seutin.

NYDC has responded innovatively to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, embarking on virtual taster workshops, Q&As, live online workshops and digital sessions to ensure that residencies were able to continue for the 2020/2021 cohort. The cohort continues to work together with Guest Artistic Director Alesandra Seutin and her team of artists from Vocab Dance on two further residencies, before embarking on a short UK tour this summer, including a performance at Sadler’s Wells on Saturday 24 July 2021. Work will continue digitally until government laws allow for the company to meet in person in the studio. Further details about the production and tour are to be announced.

The cohort of 29 is made up of 21 dancers recruited virtually in November 2020, who join eight returning dancers from last year’s cohort. The group is made up of 19 female and 10 male dancers from over 20 different towns and cities across the country. The NYDC company age range is 16-18, or up to the age of 24 for deaf or disabled dancers, and this year’s company members span the full age range.

A film of the cohort can be found via here.

The company is Deborah Asidi from Nottingham, Charlotte Aspin from Bristol, Ella Atkinson from Stalybridge, Jesse Baggett-Lahav from Ipswich, Ashur Cali from Leeds, Keziah Campbell-Golding from London, Elvi Rose Christiansen Head from London, Rory Clarke from Winchester,  Kian Crowley from London, Maya Donne from Lewes, Phoebe Dowglass from Goring-by-sea, Skiye Edmond from London, Harry Fayers from Marlow, Maiya Leeke from Preston, Jasmine Massey from Stourbridge, Max Mulrenan from York, Jamaica Payne from Nottingham, Katie Smith from Wakefield, Amari Webb-Martin from London, Ciaran Wood from Frome and Genevieve Wright from Downham Market. They join the following dancers from the previous cohort: Sonny Connor-Bell from Birmingham, Karim Dime from London, Maia Faulkner from Brighton, Willow Fenner from London, Mia Grote from Totnes, Mirabelle Haddon from London, Chiara Moore from Warrington, and Eve Shorten from Oxford.

Hannah Kirkpatrick, NYDC General Manager, said: “This year is certainly bringing its challenges, but we made a decision early on that it would not stop us creating new work, we just have to adapt how the work can be created. I feel so proud of how the company have responded, how dedicated and motivated they are to continue working together and making this a success. It is a huge amount of work for Alesandra and her artistic team, planning and utilising the time on Zoom to make sure that when we can be in person we can hit the ground running. This past year has hit us all, but I think it has been particularly difficult for young people. Creating a new work over lockdown is keeping us motivated and focused in a time when so much is out of our control.

Alesandra Seutin, NYDC Guest Artistic Director 2020/21, said: “Regardless of the digital residencies with NYDC, I really feel that we have created a strong connection and been able to transcend the realm of our rectangle spaces. I cannot wait to meet my company in the flesh!

Guest Artistic Director Alesandra Seutin takes over from last year’s Guest Artistic Director Russell Maliphant, a multi-award-winning choreographer and Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells. NYDC will continue the digital work started by Maliphant and the 2019/20 cohort, whose year was halted halfway through as the UK went into lockdown. The company went online, and at the end of the summer NYDC became the first dancers to return to Sadler’s Wells since lockdown. Working in small socially distanced groups, they rehearsed and performed a new dance work to an intimate audience of friends and family, to complete their year.

International 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 (Senegal) where she became a student of Germaine Acogny, training directly under Acogny. Seutin is an Artistic Director for École des Sables. Working in a variety of fields, Seutin is also a movement director, dramaturge, teacher and performer, performing for several noted artists including Jonathan Burrows, Tanusree Shankar, Germaine Acogny and Rafael Bonachela. Seutin founded Vocab Dance in 2007 and has progressively built an international reputation for creating thought provoking and visually striking performances. Her creativity is inspired by social and political circumstances, and with movement, voice and music, she shares stories to encourage further conversation.

Seutin 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 Botis Seva. Seutin has also created work for Sadler’s Wells’ resident over-60s performance company, Company of Elders. Seutin’s latest work Dear Winnie for JR.CE.SA.R supported by KVS & NNT will resume its tour in Belgium and will tour internationally in 2022.

Now in its ninth year, NYDC has, since its inception, established a reputation for producing high-quality, critically acclaimed productions by leading choreographers: Russell Maliphant (2019 – 2020) Botis Seva (2018 – 2017), Sharon Eyal (2017-18), Damien Jalet (2016-17), Michael Keegan-Dolan (2015-16), Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (2014-15), Akram Khan (2013-14) and Jasmin Vardimon (2012-13).

Demonstrating their commitment to the next generation of young dancers, these internationally acclaimed artists highlight the power young dancers have to shape the future of dance. NYDC has a track record of putting young people on paths to successful dance careers, with over 80% of all former NYDC dancers now either in further dance studies, in vocational training or working professionally. Graduates from NYDC have since danced in Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Teaċ Daṁsa, Hofesh Shechter Company, BalletBoyz, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Cullberg Ballet, Ultima Vez, Russell Maliphant Company, Rambert2 and the Jasmin Vardimon Company.

National Youth Dance Company is supported using public funding by Department for Education and Arts Council England. 
Barclays is the Associate Partner of the National Youth Dance Company.