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Sadler’s Wells announces next performances and new content for it’s Digital Stage

22 Apr 2020

Natalia Osipova. Photographer Rick Guest

Today Sadler’s Wells announces the next four Facebook Premieres set for Digital Stage, its free online performance programme. Performances will be screened live on Fridays at 7:30pm UK time via Sadler’s Wells’ Facebook page, and are then available to watch on demand for seven days thereafter.

Artists and companies performing include ballet superstar Natalia Osipova, Taiwan’s Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, UK choreographer Alexander Whitley, and Sadler’s Wells’ Breakin’ Convention. Facebook Premiere dates and times are as follows:

  • An evening with Natalia Osipova – Valse Triste, Qutb, and Ave Maria Friday 24 April at 7.30pm BST
  • Breakin’ Convention – The Jazz re:freshed Sonic Orchestra Friday 1 May at 7.30pm BST
  • Alexander Whitley – 8 Minutes Friday 8 May at 7.30pm BST
  • Cloud Gate Dance Theatre – Moon Water Friday 15 May at 7.30pm BST

Ballet superstar Natalia Osipova presents a trio of classical and contemporary works, showcasing the versatility and intensity that have been trademarks of her storied dance career. An evening with Natalia Osipova features Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s Valse Triste, specially created for Osipova and American Ballet Theatre principal David Hallberg, alongside Ave Maria by Japanese choreographer Yuka Oishi set to the music of Schubert, both works originally featured in Osipova’s Pure Dance at Sadler’s Wells in 2018. The programme also features Qutb, a work created for Osipova by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui in 2016 and performed with acclaimed dancers Jason Kittelberger and James O’Hara. An Evening with Natalia Osipova screens this Friday 24 April at 7.30pm and can be viewed via this linkQutb is presented courtesy of Illuminations and Sky Arts.

On Friday, 1 May, the world’s biggest festival of hip hop dance theatre, Breakin’ Convention, looks back to its 2018 edition, on the same weekend that this year’s festival was due to take place. Renowned for showcasing high calibre and diverse representations of hip hop dance theatre from around the world, in 2018 Breakin’ Convention featured an innovative collaboration with Jazz re:freshed, the prestigious live jazz organisation. Marking both Sadler’s Wells’ 20th anniversary, and the 15th anniversaries of both Breakin’ Convention and Jazz re:freshed, the partnership brought together musicians across jazz, hip-hop and beyond, providing original soundscapes and a score by Jason Yarde, to accompany five newly commissioned dance works. Artists and companies performing represented highlights from past Breakin’ Convention festivals, including The Locksmiths, The Ruggeds, Boy Blue, Ayanna Witter-Johnson and Mufasa, Tanaya ‘Ice’ Martin and host Jonzi D, UK hip hop theatre pioneer and founder of Breakin’ Convention. The following day, Saturday 2 May, Breakin’ Convention also presents a virtual festival across its digital channels, featuring highlights from past festival programmes, workshops, talks, and wellbeing sessions, full details of which will be announced at a later date.

On Friday 8 May, Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate Artist Alexander Whitley presents 8 Minutes. Known for his groundbreaking use of technology, Whitley’s work combines film and dance in a breath-taking journey to the sun, in this unique collaboration with scientists from STFC RAL Space. This critically acclaimed production, which premiered at Sadler’s Wells in 2017, features a specially created score by the electro-acoustic music innovator Daniel Wohl and an installation of high-definition imagery from BAFTA award-winning visual artist Tal Rosner.

World-renowned Cloud Gate Dance Theatre has visited Sadler’s Wells for over 20 years, stunning audiences with its unique aesthetic and choreography, most recently in February this year with 13 Tongues and Dust, works created by new Artistic Director Cheng Tsung-Lung, and founding Director Lin Hwai-Min, respectively. Set to Bach’s Suites for Solo Cello, Lin’s masterpiece Moon Water was first performed at Sadler’s Wells in 2002. Inspired by the Buddhist proverb ‘Flowers in a mirror and moon on the water are both illusive’, mirrors and gently moving water gradually fill the stage and reflects the dancers’ movements in a beautifully meditative performance. Moon Water screens on Friday 15 May.

The Sadler’s Wells workshop series for audiences to dance along to at home also continues. This week, the fourth Company of Elders workshop for older adults is available on Wednesday 22 April, hosted by New Adventures Resident Artist Paul Smethurst. In the workshop, Paul will focus on New Adventures’ signature style of dance theatre, and will teach introductory swing moves, alongside adapted choreography from Matthew Bourne’s much-loved production of Swan Lake.

The following Wednesday 29 April, International Dance Day, the fifth Company of Elders workshop for older adults is presented by the Company of Elders Rehearsal Director Simona Scotto, who will lead a ballet-based session. All Company of Elders Workshops can be found online via the Sadler’s Wells Facebook and YouTube channels.

This week also sees the premiere of a brand-new screen dance film featuring the National Youth Dance Company (NYDC). Last summer, NYDC toured MADHEAD, a new production by the 2018-19 NYDC Guest Artistic Director Botis Seva, and this specially commissioned short film, directed by Ben Williams, is inspired by the full-length theatre work. MADHEAD sees 38 of the UK’s best young dancers fuse contemporary dance, physical theatre, hip-hop, and Seva’s unique choreographic style combining with the dancers’ energy and talent, to produce a unique and exhilarating film. MADHEAD is available to watch on demand via Sadler’s Wells YouTube page.

Further details, including all titles, dates and screening times, will be announced via Sadler’s Wells’ social media channels, and updated via this link on the Sadler’s Wells website: https://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2020/digital-stage.