Diverse Autumn Season for Sadler's Wells
Date: 12 May 2009
Dance from all corners of the globe, in all styles and traditions, characterises the autumn season at Sadler’s Wells and the Peacock, its sister theatre in the west end. Buoyed by a record box office – more than half a million people visited the theatres in the past year – the season runs until Christmas and includes 40 events in styles ranging from ballet and Kathak to flamenco and experimental dance-theatre.
The season begins on 1 September with a new work from the renowned flamenco guitarist Paco Pena and his troupe of dancers, singers and musicians. The piece is inspired by the diversity of dance styles that emerged from Latin America as wave after wave of immigrants arrived in the early 1900s.
The diversity of Indian dance is also spotlit in the two-week festival Svapnagata (16–28 November). Meaning dreaming in Sanskrit, the multi-event fortnight is curated by dancer Akram Khan and composer Nitin Sawhney and includes new work from them both plus numerous artistes working in both traditional styles and more modern vein.
In a separate visit (25, 26 September), Khan appears with his own company in the return of his latest work Bahok. It is one of several prestigious contemporary troupes visiting this autumn, including Belgium’s Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker (8–12 September), and New York’s Mark Morris (27–31 October).
Another highlight of the autumn season is the long-overdue appearance at Sadler’s Wells of Henri Oguike. The Welsh-Nigerian choreographer is creating a new work for Rambert Dance Company (3–7 November), whose visit also includes a piece work by company director Mark Baldwin.
Those seeking small-scale experimental work will be intrigued by the Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite (17, 18 September). The former Ballett Frankfurt dancer is making her UK debut, as is the Dutch minimalist Lotte van den Berg (24, 25 September) whose work spans mime, dance and theatre.
Ballet-wise, there are four visiting troupes, starting with Scottish Ballet (1–3 October) which celebrates its 40th birthday with a decade-spanning mixed bill. Royal Ballet-trained, New York-based Christopher Wheeldon (21–24 October) visits with two mixed bills, the first featuring new work and the second nodding to Diaghilev’s Paris centenary.
The Russian impresario’s first visit to the West in 1909 has inspired Sadler’s Wells to commission four new works from four contemporary dance makers in a programme entitled In The Spirit of Diaghilev (13–17 October). Wayne McGregor, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant and Javier De Frutos have been asked to create in response to the famous challenge that Diaghilev issued Jean Cocteau: “Surprise me!”.
Other ballet visitors include Birmingham Royal Ballet with two programmes (10–14 November), one a mixed bill of new and new-ish work, and the second a family friendly-story ballet based on the tale of the love-sick Cyrano. Last in the ballet line-up is the unrivaled Carlos Acosta (1–5 December) in a mixed bill of ballets with George Balanchine’s Apollo easily the highlight.
The Well’s autumn season also features shows for families, including a special weekend for babies and toddlers (10–11 October), the ever-popular dance-comedians Jump (3–21 November), and the quirky Swedish Cirkus Cirkor (14–31 October). The youth troupe Bounce also appear with their hip-hop show inspired by the Milos Forman film One Flew Over the Cucukoo’s Nest (15 September–3 October).
At Christmas, The Snowman returns to the Peacock Theatre for its umpteenth visit (2 December–10 January), and Matthew Bourne’s all-male swan Swan Lake swoops in on Sadler’s Wells for an extra-long stay (10 December–24 January).
- by Sarah Frater
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