At a press briefing today, Sadler's Wells artistic director and CEO Alistair Spalding described the season as an attempt to reach new audiences as they face up to the realities of the current recession. “As a venue we've been successful in recent years because we've taken both artistic and financial risks” he said. “If we're going to survive the credit crunch we need to carry on in this vein, rather than becoming overly conservative in our choices.”
The off-site season of works commences at the Roundhouse on 27 and 28 of February with Hofesh Shechter's The Choreographer's Cut: In Your Rooms/Uprising (pictured), a reworking of two acclaimed pieces he presented last year. Shechter, described as “dance's hottest young star” and a newly appointed Sadler's Wells associate artist, will orchestrate 17 dancers and 20 musicians in a piece he described today as “more of a concert than a straight dance piece”.
As previously announced (See News, 8 January 2009), a highlight of the season is a new collaboration with the Young Vic, with award-winning opera director Daniel Kramer (Woyzeck, Punch and Judy) returning to the South Bank venue to present Pictures From an Exhibition, inspired by Modest Mussorky's classic piano suite. Alistair Spalding said today that he had been seeking to collaborate with the Young Vic for some time, and that he and Young Vic artistic director David Lan had a “shared interest” in Kramer's work.
At the Tate Modern, Fabric nightclub, Midland Goods Shed (St Pancras) and at its Islington home, Sadler's Wells will present Focus on Forsythe, a celebration of the career of iconic American choreographer William Forsythe comprising four UK premieres of installation works. City of Abstracts, an interactive film piece, will show at all four venues between 20 April and 3 May 2009, while the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall will play host to Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, in which a number of dancers perform around a set of huge swinging pendulums, on 30 April and 1 May.
Another new venue playing host to works is the Village Underground in Shoreditch, where innovative performance company The Clod Ensemble will present Under Glass from 9 to 16 May. A site-specific performance, Under Glass presents a “collection of extraordinary human beings … contained in a series of glass jars, cabinets and test tubes”, choreographed by Suzy Wilson.
Lepage & Cooper world premieres
Eonnageta (26 February to 8 March 2009), produced in-house by Sadler's Wells, brings together dancer Sylvie Guillem, director Robert Lepage and choreographer Russell Maliphant to create a work influenced by the story of the Chevalier d'Eon, Charles de Beaumont – “a diplomat, writer, swordsmen and a member of the King's Secret; a network of spies under the control of Louis XV”. De Beaumont was a legendary figure of the late 18th Century, whose real gender was the subject of public bets due to his use of transvestitism in the line of duty.
From 23 July to 30 August, Adam Cooper returns to Sadler's Wells with a new production for the first time since 2005, when he presents Shall We Dance. Set to a score comprised entirely of melodies by Richard Rodgers, and featuring a full live orchestra, the show, conceived and performed by Cooper, blends tap, jazz and classical dance to tell the story of a man's quest for true love. The main house also hosts the return of Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray (7 to 19 July), as part of a national tour.
Other highlights for spring 2009 include the stars of BB1's Strictly Come Dancing, with Anton du Beke and Erin Boag performing as part of the Sadler's Wells Spring Dance season at the London Coliseum (22 to 26 April), and Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova presenting their new show Latin Fever at the Peacock Theatre from 27 May to 28 June 2009.
- By Theo Bosanquet