Dedicated to dance
since 1910.

Buy Latest Issue

Autumn at Sadler’s Wells

Posted on May 8, 2014

torobaka by jean louis fernande  020

torobaka by jean-louis fernande  020A Scandinavian season, a collaboration between composer Thomas Adès and choreographers Karole Armitage, Wayne McGregor, Crystal Pite and Alexander Whitley and a new  work by Akram Khan and flamenco star Israel Galván (pictured) are among the highlights of the autumn season at London dance venue Sadler’s Wells.





Elixir Festival

ana laguna and mats ek c stephanie bergerIn September 2014, Sadler’s Wells presents the Elixir Festival, a large-scale celebration of lifelong creativity and the work of older artists. On the theatre’s main stage, KnowBody; A lifetime of experiences is a mixed programme of work, featuring Mats Ek and Ana Laguna (pictured,left, by Stephanie Berger), Sadler’s Wells own Company of Elders in a restaged excerpt from Hofesh Shechter’s In your rooms and a new commission danced by former professional dancers. There will also be workshops, film screenings, a conference and a programme of studio performances.


Fresh from the Edinburgh International Festival, Mark Baldwin and Ladysmith Black Mambazo present INALA, a new collaboration with dancers from Rambert and The Royal Ballet. Running from September 17 to 20, the new production blends South African and western cultures, uniting Zulu traditions with classical ballet, contemporary dance and live music.


Northern Light

theplateaueffect photo by urban j r nThe Northern Light season is a celebration of Nordic dance culture, with works by Scandinavian artists. On the main stage, the Royal Swedish Ballet dance the UK premiere of Mats Ek’s Juliet and Romeo from September 24 to 27. This new version of Shakesepeare’s story is danced to music by Tchaikovsky, adapted by Anders Högstedt. In November, Sweden’s Culberg Ballet dance Plateau Effect (pictured, left, by Urban J r n), choreographed by Jefta van Dinther, which shows dancers as a community moving through large-scale environments.

The Northern Light season continues in the Lilian Baylis Studio, with UK premieres from Finnish choreographer Maija Hirvanen and Iceland’s Margrét Sara Gudjónsdóttir. Norway’s zero visibility corp. present …it’s only a rehearsal, inspired by the Greek myth of Actaeon, turned into a stag by the goddess Artemis, choreographed by Ina Christel Johannessen. At the Platform Theatre at Central St Martins, Denmark’s Mette Ingvartsen presents The Artificial Nature Project. Ingvartsen also features in the Sadler’s Wells Wild Card season – see below for details.


From October 1 to 4, Brazil’s Grupo Corpo dance two works by Rodrigo Pederneiras. Triz is a Brazilian term for the moment before a catastrophe, while Parabelo is inspired by life in rural Brazil. The performance is part of a Dance Consortium tour – see for the full tour schedule.

New Adventures and Re:Bourne bring Lord of the Flies to Sadler’s Wells from October 8 to 11. First created in Glasgow, and fresh from a successful UK tour, the production brings together New Adventures’ own dancers with local boys and young men in a retelling of William Golding’s chilling novel. The work is choreographed by Scott Ambler and directed by Ambler and Matthew Bourne.

From October 14 to 18, Birmingham Royal Ballet dance two programmes at Sadler’s Wells. David Bintley’s Beauty and the Beast has a score by Glenn Buhr and dramatic designs by Philip Prowse. The triple bill Shadows of War includes a new production of Robert Helpmann’s wartime ballet Miracle in the Gorbals, recreated by choreographer Gillian Lynne, who was a member of the original cast. It’s performed with Kenneth MacMillan’s La Fin du jour, an evocation of the glamorous 1930s, and David Bintley’s Flowers of the Forest, which uses music by Malcolm Arnold and Benjamin Britten to evoke both picture-postcard Scotland and the bloody battlefield of Flodden.

After sell-out performances in the Lilian Baylis Studio, TAO Dance Theatre comes to the main stage in October, as part of Dance Umbrella. The company perform two works by its founder and choreographer, Beijing-based Tao Ye. In 6, the dancers move through landscape of light created by Swedish lighting designer Ellen Ruge. In 7, commissioned by Sadler’s Wells, the seven dancers create acoustic effects with their own bodies. Both works are danced to commissioned music by Chinese indie folk composer Xiao He.

Sadler’s Wells comes to Alexandra Palace Ice Rink from October 28 to 31, presenting iconoclastic skaters Le Patin Libre [Free Skate] in a specially commissioned double bill. The company started by performing on frozen ponds and canals in Montreal. In Influences, the performers explore how body language can influence other people. In Vertical, audiences can see the performers up close, with seating on the ice itself.


See the Music, Hear the Dance

See the Music, Hear the Dance is a major collaboration with composer Thomas Adès and choreographers Karole Armitage, Wayne McGregor, Crystal Pite and Alexander Whitley. In his only London appearance in 2014, Adès will conduct the Britten Sinfonia in a programme of his own music. Armitage presents Life Story, performed by two members of Armitage Gone! Dance Company. British soprano Claire Booth will sing Adès’ music, based on words by Tennessee Williams, with Adès on piano.

McGregor will choreograph Outlier to Concentric Paths, Adès’ violin concerto, to be played by Thomas Gould. Created for New York City Ballet, Outlier is presented here as a co-production with the Royal Ballet of Flanders.

Alexander Whitley, a Sadler’s Wells New Wave associate, will create a world premiere of the programme. Exploring ideas of obsession and transformation, The Grit in the Oyster will be danced to Adès’ piano quintet, again with Adès on piano.

The evening ends with a world premiere by Crystal Pite, danced to Adès’ Polaris. It will be performed by six dancers from Pite’s company Kidd Pivot, with 60 dance students. See the Music, Hear the Dance runs from October 30 to November 1.


Akram Khan and Israel Galván collaborate on the new work TOROBAKA, which has its UK premiere from November 3 to 8. It brings together Khan’s kathak style and Galván’s flamenco. The work takes its name from a Maori-inspired phonetic poem by Tristan Tzara: the bull (toro) and the cow (vaca) are sacred animals in the dancers’ two traditions, and represent the coming together of dance styles.

From November 10 to 11, Jasmin Vardimon Company bring Park to Sadler’s Wells. Set in an urban oasis, the production has been reworked with new 3D imaging.

From November 18 to 22, Rambert dance Triptych, a triple bill of work by British-based artists. Rambert’s artistic director Mark Baldwin’s new The Strange Charm of Mother Nature was inspired by the discovery of the “God Particle” , the Higgs boson, discovered at CERN in 2012. It’s performed with Ashley Page’s Subterrain and a new work by Shobana Jeyasingh, her first for Rambert.


Guillem revivals

sylvie guillem and russell maliphant push photo by johan perssonFrom November 25 to 29, Sylvie Guillem and Akram Khan revive Sacred Monsters, featuring choreography by Khan, Guari Sharma Tripathi and Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan’s Lin Hwai-Min. It’s the second Guillem project to be revived this season: over the summer, Sadler’s Wells PUSH, starring Guillem and Russell Maliphant (pictured, left, by Johan Persson), will be performed at the London Coliseum. Created in 2005, the award-winning show will be at the Coliseum from July 29 to August 3.




For Christmas, New Adventures bring Edward Scissorhands back to Sadler’s Wells, running from December 2 to January 11, while The Birmingham Repertory Theatre production of The Snowman returns to the Peacock Theatre for its seventeenth Christmas season. In the Lilian Baylis Studio, choreographer Arthur Pita presents The Little Match Girl (pictured, left, by Phil Conrad), based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale. The family-friendly production is aimed at audiences aged five and up.


In January 2015, BalletBoyz present the world premiere of Young Men, a portrayal of men at war, from friendship and love to loss and survival. Choreographed by Iván Pérez, the new work features a newly-commissioned live score from singer-songwriter Keaton Henson, and will be danced by the ten dancers of BalletBoyz: the Talent. Young Men is a co-production with Sadler’s Wells and WW1 Centenary Arts Commissions, 14-18 NOW.


The autumn season will include more performances in the =dance season, Sadler’s Wells’ biggest ever programme of inclusive dance. The season launches in the Lilian Baylis Studio on May 13 and 14 with Stopgap Dance Company’s Artificial Things, choreographed by Lucy Bennett, with a cast including David Toole. In September, the season continues with Mark Smith’s DMD+ (Deaf Men Dancing) in Hear! Hear!

In November, Candoco Dance Company perform Curious Encounters as part of the =dance season, featuring Two for C by Javier De Frutos and an excerpt from Thomas Hauert’s Notturnino. Younger audiences will have the chance to ask questions about inclusive contemporary dance. In Close Encounters, Candoco present an extract from new work by Hetain Patel and Two for C, plus conversations with De Frutos and Patel.

=dance Statement Pieces, on December 11, features new and restaged work from leading artists in the sector, while Magpie Dance celebrates its 30th anniversary year on January 16 with Flying High, including a new work created with one of Sadler’s Wells associate artists.


Wild Card

Wild Card, a series of specially curated evenings from emerging dance artists, is back in the new season. Seeta Patel, a UK-born artist who works in both contemporary dance and the Indian classical style Bharata Natyam, presents Something Then, Something Now on September 26. An intimate evening of dance and music from South India, it features an orchestra of Carnatic musicians and the seasoned dancer and musician Pushkala Gopal.

On November 7, dancer and theatre maker Neil Callaghan presents Transforming Matter, including works by Mette Ingvartsen, Jeremy Wade and an excerpt from Callaghan’s latest duet with long-term collaborator Simone Kenyon. All three works explore how we engage with the world and each other.

Tickets for the new season go on sale on Monday, May 12. See the Sadler’s Wells website for full information. 


Top image: Israel Galván and Akram Khan. Photograph: Louis Fernande




Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

Connect with Dancing Times: