Two multi award-winning productions from choreographer and director Matthew Bourne headline the 2003/2004 winter season at Sadler's Wells, London's leading dance venue, where they both originally premiered. His version of Nutcracker! returns for a second Christmas run (2 December 2003 to 24 January 2004) and is followed next summer by a two-month engagement (13 July to 4 September 2004) of his legendary all-male staging of Swan Lake.

For 15 years, Bourne was best known, with producer Katharine Dore, as one half of the renowned Adventures in Motion Pictures (AMP) whose much-lauded works included the original mountings of his Swan Lake and The Nutcracker as well as Cinderella, The Car Man and others. In August 2001, Bourne announced his solo outfit, New Adventures, which is behind Nutcracker! as well as the Bourne's new work Play Without Words, which premiered in summer 2002 at the National Theatre, was nominated for two Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards and won two 2003 Olivier Awards.

Bourne's first Nutcracker production premiered at Sadler's Wells in 1992 when it was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production. Featuring the same creative team, including designer Anthony Ward, this substantially revised and expanded Nutcracker! broke box office records at Sadler's Wells last Christmas prior to a regional tour. It features Bourne's trademark style of reinvention, with Clara's fantastical journey taking in aspects of Oliver Twist, the IceCapades and Busby Berkeley musicals.

Swan Lake premiered at Sadler's Wells in 1995 before becoming the longest running ballet in both the West End and on Broadway, where it three Tony Awards (Best Director of a Musical and Best Choreographer for Bourne and Best Costume Design for Lez Brotherston). Its many other prizes include a South Bank Show award and an Olivier for Best New Dance Production. It was last seen in London in 2000 when it had a limited season at the West End's Dominion Theatre.

Other highlights of the Sadler's Wells 2003/2004 programme, under the direction of chief executive Jean-Luc Choplin, include festivals dedicated to both flamenco and hip-hop, a co-production of The Temptation of St Anthony, the National Ballet of China's adaptation of the 1991 film Raise the Red Lantern, eight new productions from the Leeds-based Opera North and returns of companies such as Martha Graham Dance, Rambert Dance, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet Preljocaj and Phoenix Dance.

Meanwhile, this summer, the Australian troupe Tap Dogs returns for a limited season from 5 to 23 August 2003. Dressed in Blundstone boots and jeans, six muscly men – now joined by women for the first time ever - tap, stomp, jump and splash their way through the show that combines workman poser with precision, high energy, and raw and raunchy routines. The troupe arrive in London at the end of a UK tour launched in March (See News, 7 Mar 2003).

- by Terri Paddock