Tickets for all shows go on sale from May 23 at the Sadler’s Wells box office, on 0844 412 4300, or from www.sadlerswells.com.
The season opens with the world premiere of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s TeZukA, on the Sadler’s Wells main stage from September 6–10. Larbi’s work is inspired by Japanese animator Osamu Tezuka, celebrated as the “God of Manga”. Cherkaoui explores Tezuka’s world, with a cast of nine dancers, two musicians, an actor and a calligrapher. The new score is by Nitin Sawhney, with lighting design by Willy Cessa and projections of Tezuka’s original illustrations alongside work by video artist Taki Ueda.
From September 13–16, Brazil’s Grupo Corpo perform a double bill of Imã and Onqotô, both by resident choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras. From September 19–20, French-Vietnamese choreographer Ea Sola presents Drought and Rain, the result of five years of research on the traditional music and dance of Vietnam and the lasting effect of the war on the country’s people. Sola’s recreation of her 1995 dance is a Sadler’s Wells co-production. The London performances follow the work’s UK debut at the Edinburgh International Festival.
Sylvie Guillem returns for a second run of her evening of works by Mats Ek, William Forsythe and Jirí Kylián. Now named 6000 miles away, this programme will be performed from September 22–25. From September 28–October 1, Canadian company La La La Human Steps give the UK premiere of the latest work by their founder Édouard Lock. It’s danced to a score by Gavin Bryars, who draws on Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice. Maryinsky ballerina Diana Vishneva guest stars. See Dancing Times, March 2011 for Marc Haegeman’s review of the show.
DESH (homeland) is a new solo work by Sadler’s Wells associate artist Akram Khan, inspired by Bangladesh. This will be a personal work for Khan, as he explores the contradictions of his own British-Asian identity. He will collaborate with the visual artist Tim Yip, who won an Oscar for his production design for the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, with lighting designer Michael Hulls, writer and poet Karthika Nair and composer Jocelyn Pook.
As part of Dance Umbrella, from October 10–11, Emanuel Gat Dance perform the UK premiere of Brilliant Corners, danced to a score by Gat. From October 13–15, Beijing Dance Theater makes its UK debut with the UK premiere of Haze. Established by choreographer Wang Yuanyuan, who has choreographed for the National Ballet of China and New York City Ballet, with visual artists Han Jiang and Tan Shaoyuan, the company combines traditional Chinese culture and dance with ballet. Haze is a response to the economic and environmental crises of early 2009.
Birmingham Royal Ballet return to Sadler’s Wells with Frederick Ashton’s much-loved La Fille mal gardée and Autumn Glory, a triple bill of Ninette de Valois’ Checkmate, Ashton’s Symphonic Variations and John Cranko’s Pineapple Poll.
Fabulous Beast collaborate with musician Liam O Maonlaí on Rian, a new work named after O Maonlaí’s 2005 solo album. Fabulous Beast artistic director Michael Keegan-Dolan aims to create a production in which musicians and dancers share the stage equally.
Sadler’s Wells has commissioned An Anatomie in Four Quarters from Clod Ensemble. In this promenade production, performed from October 28–30, the auditorium will be dissected as an audience of just 200 people move to different viewing positions, starting in the Second Circle and ending up on stage. The original score features live strings, percussion and bagpipes.
Scottish Ballet return to Sadler’s Wells from November 3–4, with a double bill originally unveiled at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival. Kenneth MacMillan’s Song of the Earth, danced to Mahler’s song cycle, is followed by a new work by Finnish-born choreographer Jorma Elo, danced to Mozart’s first violin concerto and to music by Steve Reich.
Cloud Gate Dance Theatre dance the UK premiere of White from November 9–12. Set to music by Japanese composer Atsuhiko Gondai, Steven Scott (founder of The Bowed Piano Ensemble) and percussionist composer Alex Cline, Lin Hwai-min’s work uses light and shadow to turn a large cast into moving silhouettes.
Mark Baldwin, artistic director of Rambert Dance Company, creates a new work for the company this autumn. Seven for a secret, never to be told is set to music based on Ravel’s opera L’enfant et les sortilèges, adapted by Stephen McNeff with designs by Michael Howells. Javier De Frutos returns to Rambert to create a new work inspired by the life and work of playwright Tennessee Williams. Merce Cunningham’s RainForest closes this triple bill, which runs from November 15–19.
3Abscheid, which has its UK premiere from November 21–22, is a collaboration between Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Jérôme Bel, danced to the last movement of Mahler’s Song of the Earth. Bel and De Keersmaeker are joined on stage by the contemporary music ensemble Ictus, as they address the question of whether it is possible to choreograph this epic masterpiece (although Scottish Ballet plan to answer that question, on the same stage, less than three weeks earlier).
December 1–3 sees the world premiere of Undance, a new collaboration between composer Mark-Anthony Turnage, choreographer Wayne McGregor and Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger. This is the first new work in Sadler’s Wells Composer Series. McGregor will direct mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly in Turnage’s chamber opera Twice Through the Heart. The second part of the evening is a new McGregor work, danced by his own company Random Dance, with designs by Wallinger. Turnage’s score for the piece was inspired by a text by Wallinger, which was itself inspired by sculptor Richard Serra’s Compilation of Verbs and the work of photographer Eadweard J. Muybridge.
Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! Returns to Sadler’s Wells for Christmas, running from December 6–January 23, 2012.
Away from the main stage, Havana Rakatan returns to the Peacock Theatre from September 13–October 9, for a fifth season of Cuban jazz, mambo, son and more. From October 14–15, award-winning Australian choreographer Shaun Parker brings Happy as Larry to the Peacock as part of a UK tour. Parker explores human happiness using personality types drawn from the Enneagram psychological system, mixing ballet, breakdance, roller skating and contemporary dance, with an electro-acoustic score by Nick Wales and Bree van Reyk.
A sneak preview of Some Like It Hip Hop, the follow-up to ZooNation’s award-winning Into the Hoods, was a big hit at this year’s Sadler’s Wells Sampled. The full show has its world premiere from October 20–November 19. Choreographed by Kate Prince, and drawing on Billy Wilder’s film Some Like It Hot and Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, it’s a comedy of cross-dressing, gender stereotypes and revolution, played out with hip hop and physical theatre. The cast includes Tommy Franzen, Lizzie Gough and Teneisha Bonner.
From November 30–January 8, 2012, the Birmingham Rep production of The Snowman is back for its record-breaking 14th Christmas season, complete with dancing penguins and “Walking in the Air”.
Lilian Baylis Studio
Last year, Quarantine’s Susan & Darren was one of the biggest successes at the Lilian Baylis. This autumn, Quarantine return with the new work Entitled, exploring hope, privilege and disappointment. It shows the usually hidden choreography that transforms a theatre from an empty space into a stage for a show, and back again. Typically for Quarantine, it blurs the lines between spectator and performer, with a cast that includes working technicians. A Sadler’s Wells co-commission, it runs from September 27–October 1.
Champloo Dance Company is one of the UK’s leading b-boy troupes. White Caps is a multimedia production following the journey of two young men, performed by company founders Wilkie Branson and Joel Daniel from October 21–23.
From November 15–16, TAO Dance Theatre make their UK debut with a double bill of recent works. 2 is a duet performed by artistic director and company founder Tao Ye and Duan Ni. Weight x 3 is a triptych of pieces about perceptions of physical practice, performed to music by Steve Reich.
In collaboration with Champloo Dance Company, Travelling Light and Bristol Old Vic have created BOING!, a children’s show set on Christmas Eve. Using comedy, acrobatics and breakdance, it shows the excitement of waiting for Father Christmas, directed by children’s theatre specialist Sally Cookson and choreographed and performed by Champloo founders Wilkie Branson and Joel Daniel. Suitable for children aged 3 and over, BOING! Runs from December 13–31.