Sadler’s Wells releases a series of short films by Sadler’s Wells Young Associates

8 Sep 2021

Sadler’s Wells today releases Introducing the next generation of choreographers, a collection of four short films created by the Sadler’s Wells Young Associates, available to watch on Digital Stage from today. Made in collaboration with filmmaker Jacob Sutton, the four films are an introduction to the unique perspectives of the current cohort of Young Associates, Olive Hardy, Vidya Patel, John-William Watson and Magnus Westwell. Each of the artists had mentoring support from a Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist to develop ideas for their film. The Sadler’s Wells Young Associates programme is for young choreographers aged 18-24, who are supported by Sadler’s Wells for two years, providing a crucial first step into their career as choreographers.

Taking an organic and improvisational approach to her choreography, Olive Hardy’s piece focuses on the experience of catharsis and the surfacing and release of strong emotion. The piece was developed following a series of creative conversations with Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Michael Keegan Dolan. Born in London and raised in Bristol, Olive Hardy started dancing for Rise Youth Dance and performed with the company for most of her young adulthood, under the direction of Helen Wilson. Her training began at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and she graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in 2019. She performed in works made by celebrated choreographers Samir Kennedy, Leila McMillan, Rick Nodine and Seke Chimutengwende.

Inspired by the storytelling in Indian classical dance, Vidya Patel’s film is a love letter to her roots in kathak dance with a twist that embraces her own choreographic style. Set against the backdrop of the sounds of nature, the film strips dance down to its bare bones to embrace the natural background and environment. Patel’s film was developed following conversations with Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Kate Prince. Vidya Patel is a Birmingham-based dance artist who received kathak training from Guru Sujata Banerjee. After graduating from the South Asian strand at Centre for Advanced Training dance programme, Patel represented the South Asian category in the Grand Finals of the inaugural BBC Young Dancer 2015 at Sadler’s Wells. She has since performed in international touring works created by critically acclaimed artists Sir Richard Alston, Gary Clarke and Thick & Tight, as well as collaborating with artists including Shammi Pithia and Connor Scott, with commissions by Sampad Arts. She is currently an Associate Artist at Déda and a member of Aakash Odedra 2.

Developed following discussion with Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, John-William Watson’s work focuses on abstracting and playing with everyday, utilitarian and pedestrian movement. Using a surrealist lens, this piece takes inspiration from the elements used in silent film to create an entire world around a story, with an unapologetic commitment to musicality, composition and character. Born in Leeds, John-William Watson began his training at Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Youth Academy and CAPA College. During this time, he was also a member of the National Youth Dance Company for two years; under the artistic direction of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Michael Keegan-Dolan. He then moved Belgium to study at The Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, where he was the Wild Card contemporary finalist in the BBC Young Dancer 2017 competition. Since graduating in 2019, Watson has been working as a freelance dancer and maker in Belgium. Now, back in the UK, he is following his own creative path within the world of absurd and often comedic dance theatre.

Magnus Westwell’s raw and rhythmically driven piece takes us inside the mind of Westwell and how they visualise music. The film has been developed following discussions with Sadler’s Wells Artist Wayne McGregor. Scottish-born interdisciplinary artist, Magnus Westwell, is a graduate of The Dance School of Scotland and Rambert School, where they were the recipient of a scholarship from the Veronica Bruce Memorial Trust, administered by Scottish Ballet. Westwell has choreographed and produced work which has been performed at venues across Europe – their most recent commissions have been shown at ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event), The Lowry, The Silver Building, King’s College Chapel and on BBC4. Westwell is currently the resident choreographer with multi-media collective SYNTREX, which works at the intersection between experimental music, movement, and visual art. Alongside playing live violin with artists such as illyr and Malthus, Westwell also creates and mixes their own music, drawing inspiration from their background in traditional Scottish and left-field electronic music.

The Young Associates programme supports Sadler’s Wells mission to nurture the next generation of talent. It was launched in February 2018 and supports early career choreographers, deepening their understanding of their own artistic practice, whilst gaining valuable insight into dance production. The artists receive a tailored programme of professional development and support, including the opportunity to present their work as part of the Sadler’s Wells artistic programme. The inaugural cohort included Anthony Matsena, Wilhelmina Ojanen, Ruby Portus and Christopher Thomas.

Introducing the next generation of choreographers is available to watch for free via Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage here:

Further information on the Young Associates can be found here: