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Sadler's Wells Theatre, 2012 Season | reviews, news & interviews

Sadler's Wells Theatre, 2012 Season

Sadler's Wells Theatre, 2012 Season

Updated listings for London's dance theatre in the Olympic season

People protest: Antonio Gades's flamenco version of 'Fuenteovejuna' (14-16 February)Images: Sadler's Wells Theatre/EFE

Who would imagine that the search for new dance audiences would result in a cascade of fairy tales and dramas at Sadler's Wells, the focus for hip eyes on culture? But it is so - The Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and a Hans Christian Andersen folk tale all appear this year (following dear old Nutcracker over the Christmas period), though in radical new versions.

Matthew Bourne has been commissioned to produce a new Sleeping Beauty for winter 2012, in the line of his previous classic rewrites Swan Lake, Cinderella and Nutcracker!. The Pet Shop Boys/Javier de Frutos creation based on Andersen's folk tale The Most Incredible Thing comes back for a new run, and radical French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj shows his new Snow White. Another familiar tale, A Streetcar Named Desire, receives balletic treatment by Scottish Ballet.

Bourne and the late Pina Bausch will be given Olympic-profile celebrations in a year when the venue hopes to conceal reduced circumstances with style as the world's eyes focus on London. The hugely popular Bourne marks the 25th anniversary year of his company, New Adventures, with two other evenings this year featuring revivals of key earlier works including the innovative Play Without Words, Spitfire and Town and Country.

The ambitious staging of 10 of Bausch’s dance-theatre productions in partnership with the Barbican Centre is the other major event in a season that also presents a slim programme of new work, by Russell Maliphant, Rambert’s Mark Baldwin, Richard Alston, an evening of new male ballet directed by Ivan Putrov, and an intriguing east-London rewrite of a Bollywood-style musical.

Akram Khan's superb solo show DESH returns (though the spring showing is cancelled due to his injury), and there are also repeat viewings for Sadler's Wells associate artists Wayne McGregor and the BalletBoyz. Back to the UK come public favourites Nederlands Dans Theater 2 (the youth wing of the venerable Dutch contemporary company) and Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, buttressed by the international participants expected to join those popular annual gatherings, Breakin’ Convention and the London Flamenco Festival.

Sadler's Wells reports that its audience has doubled since 2004 - in the 2010-11 season more than 700,000 people bought tickets for 899 performances of 91 productions in the Sadler's Wells operation, which includes the Lilian Baylis Studio and the Peacock Theatre, Kingsway.


Ivan Putrov by Sam Taylor Wood27-29 January, 2012, Sadler’s Wells: ballet star Ivan Putrov stages a mixed bill about male dancing, Men in Motion, also featuring the Royal Ballet’s Sergei Polunin (Putrov pictured left © Sam Taylor-Wood).

31 January-19 February, Peacock Theatre: UMOJA brings together 30 young singers, dancers, drummers and musicians for a celebration of South African song and dance.

7-19 February, Sadler’s Wells: The annual Flamenco Festival London will feature artists including Latin Grammy Award-winning Vicente Amigo, gypsy flamenco dancer Manuela Carrasco and the great Rafael Amargo, and includes commemoration of Federico Garcia Lorca's death 75 years ago.

  • 7 February: Flamenco guitarist Vicente Amigo in Paseo de Gracia.
  • 8 & 9 February: gypsy dancer Manuela Carrasco presents her show Suspiro Flamenco.
  • 10 February: Olga Pericet Company presents Rosa, Metal, Ceniza (Rose, Metal, Ash).
  • 11 & 12 February: Flamenco gala, Bailando a Lorca (Dancing to Lorca) commemorating the 75th anniversary of the writer and flamenco supporter Federico Farcia Lorca’s death, with a cast of flamenco stars headed by Rafaela Carrasco.
  • 13 February: Guitarist Gerardo Núñez, known for cross-cultural collaborations, is joined in Travesía by dancer Carmen Cortés.
  • 14-16 February: Antonio Gades Company’s celebrated folk-dance-drama interpretation of Lope de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna (see main picture).
  • 17 & 18 February: Dancer Rafael Amargo performs Poet in New York, based on a poem by Federico García Lorca with 1930s-inspired video and imagery.
  • 19 February: Flamenco cantor José Mercé returns to Sadler’s Wells for the first time since 2003 with a programme of hits from half a million albums.

2 & 3 February, Sadler's Wells: Triple bill in the British Dance Edition, the biannual showcase of the best of British dance, of Wayne McGregor's Random Dance, Candoco Dance Company and Hofesh Shechter Company performing FAR, Trisha Brown's Set and Reset/Reset restaged for Candoco, and Shechter's The Art of Not Looking Back.

5 February, Sadler’s Wells: As part of British Dance Edition, Russell Maliphant presents his new dance piece, The Rodin Project, inspired by the works of the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin.

February, Sadler’s Wells: Akram Khan’s 2011 solo work, DESH, postponed due to injury. See October.

29 February-1 March, Sadler’s Wells: Richard Alston Dance Company performs a mixed programme with a new work danced to Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece for boys’ choir, A Ceremony of Carols, which is sung and played live by Canterbury Cathedral’s choir, Alston's Roughcut and Martin Lawrance's Lie of the Land.

3 & 4 March, Sadler’s Wells: The BalletBoyz, formed by former Royal Ballet lead dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, return with their 2011 programme of three works with young male dancers, The Talent - Russell Maliphant's Torsion, Paul Roberts' Alpha and Jarek Cemerek's Void.

6-9 March, Sadler’s Wells: Nederlands Dans Theater 2, the youth wing of the Dutch company, marks NDT’s 50th anniversary with a UK tour of a mixed bill including Jiří Kylián’s Gods and Dogs and Alexander Ekman’s Cacti.

19 & 20 March, Sadler’s Wells: Wayne McGregor/Random’s FAR, music by Vivaldi and Ben Frost, with a gorgeous light installation by rAndom International and Lucy Carter, returns for two nights.

most incredible thing25 March-7 April, Sadler’s Wells: The Pet Shop Boys and choreographer/director Javier de Frutos return with their collaboration, The Most Incredible Thing, a three-act fairy tale based on Hans Christian Andersen's story.

19-21 April, Sadler’s Wells: The Royal Ballet of Flanders presents radical ballet choreographer William Forsythe’s three-act tribute to court ballet, Artifact.

23 April: Compass is a collaborative performance inspired by the World Cities 2012 season, produced by Sadler’s Wells' creative learning and access programme Connect, bringing together a team of choreographers, a writer, a film-maker, composers and musicians with an intergenerational cast of over 100 dancers.

26-28 April, Sadler’s Wells: Scottish Ballet presents the London premiere of their 2012 creation by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa drawing on Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, which premieres earlier in April in Glasgow.

Next page: Summer 2012




5-7 May, Sadler’s Wells: The annual three-day celebration of hip-hop dance theatre and culture Breakin’ Convention is back for the ninth year - programme updates here - the weekend is followed by a UK tour taking in eight cities including newcomers Leeds and Inverness.

9 & 10 May, Lilian Baylis Studio: New York choreographer-performer Daniel Linehan shows Zombie Aporia - a pairing of words never found before in Google. The work's idea is to explore unusual hybrids in dance and music.

preljocaj snow white10-12 May, Sadler’s Wells: The French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj presents his 2008 version of Snow White for his 25-strong company, set to Mahler symphonies with costumes by fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier. Contains some nudity.

15-19 May, Sadler’s Wells: Rambert Dance Company presents a bill marking Mark Baldwin’s 10 years as artistic director and the centenary of Nijinsky’s L'après-midi d'un faune, with a Baldwin creation inspired by the work, What Wild Ecstasy, and Rambert’s own historic version.

21-26 May, Sadler’s Wells: Matthew Bourne’s "Early Adventures", consisting of Spitfire, Town and Country and The Infernal Galop - pieces that made his reputation for English wit - revived by his company New Adventures.

Watch an extract from Bourne's 1988 Spitfire

24 May-23 June, Peacock Theatre: Wah! Wah! Girls, a new musical in which east London meets Bollywood. This first collaboration between Sadler’s Wells, Stratford East and Kneehigh is inspired by the song and dance of traditional Mujra dancers and set against a vibrant East End background. Written by Tanika Gupta and featuring dance sequences choreographed by Bollywood master Javed Sanadi and leading Kathak choreographer Gauri Sharma Tripathi, set to a mix of classic Bollywood tracks and new music by Niraj Chag.

29 May-1 June, Sadler’s Wells: Danza Contemporanea de Cuba returns to London during a UK tour, with a triple bill including George Céspedes’s Mambo 3XXI, a Sadler’s Wells co-commission, and a new work from Itzak Gallili.

29 & 30 May: Double bill with young French choreographer-dancer Noé Soulier and London-based Frauke Requardt and Freddie Opoku-Addaie.

SW12_Pina_Bamboo_Blues6 June-9 July, Sadler's Wells & Barbican Theatre: Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: World Cities 2012

This month-long season of international co-productions is presented by Sadler’s Wells and the Barbican to celebrate the global focus of the Olympic year and one of the most influential choreographers in dance, Pina Bausch. It shows 10 international co-productions exploring 10 global locations in India, Brazil, Italy, Hong Kong, United States of America, Hungary, Turkey, Chile and Japan. Embarked upon by Bausch in 1986, the landmark series of works was created at the invitation of the different cities. Living in each city for a period of time, her company would then return to Wuppertal to create a piece inspired by their visit. The works are presented as part of the London 2012 Festival, which is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad.

  • 6-7 June, Viktor (Rome), SWT: A piece by Pina Bausch in co-production with Teatro Argentina di Roma which premiered on 14 May, 1986.
  • 9-10 June, Nur Du (Only You) (Los Angeles), Barbican: A piece by Pina Bausch in co-production with the University of California in Los Angeles, the Arizona State University, the University of California in Berkeley, the University of Texas in Austin, Darlene Neel Presentations, Rena Shagan Associates, Inc and The Music Center Inc which premiered on 11 May, 1996.
  • 12-13 June, …Como el musguito en la piedra, ay si, si, si (Santiago de Chile), SWT: A piece by Pina Bausch in co-production with Festival International de Teatro Santiago a Mil in Chile and the support of Goethe-Institut Chile in cooperation with Andres Neumann International which premiered on 12 June, 2009.
  • 15-16 June, Ten Chi (Saitama), Barbican: A piece by Pina Bausch in co-production with Saitama Prefecture, Saitama Arts Foundation and Nippon Cultural Centre which premiered on 8 May, 2004.
  • 18-19 June, Der Fensterputzer (Hong Kong), SWT: "The Window Washer", a piece by Pina Bausch in co-production with the Hong Kong Arts Festival Society and Goethe-Institut Hong Kong which premiered on 12 February, 1997.
  • 21-22 June, Bamboo Blues (Kolkata), Barbican: A piece about Calcutta by Pina Bausch in co-production with Goethe-Institut in India which premiered on 18 May, 2007 (pictured above right © Angelos Giotopoulos/SWT).
  • 24-25 June, Nefés (Istanbul), SWT: A piece by Pina Bausch in co-production with the International Istanbul Festival and the Istanbul Foundation of Arts and Culture which premiered on 21 March, 2003.
  • 28-29 June, Água (São Paulo), Barbican: A piece by Pina Bausch in co-production with Brazil, Goethe-Institut São Paulo and Emilio Kalil which premiered on 12 May, 2001.
  • 1-2 July, Palermo, Palermo (Palermo), SWT: A piece by Pina Bausch in co-production with Teatro Biondo Stabile, Palermo and Andres Neumann International which premiered on 17 December, 1989.
  • 8-9 July, Wiesenland (Budapest), SWT: A piece by Pina Bausch in co-production with Goethe-Institut Budapest and Théâtre de la Ville, Paris which premiered on 5 May, 2000.

bourne play without words4-8 July, Sadler’s Wells: Set up to nurture the talents of a new generation of dancers, choreographers, musicians, artists and designers, New English Ballet Theatre, whose patrons include Darcey Bussell and Carlos Acosta, make their debut season at Sadler’s Wells with premieres by emerging choreographers George Williamson, Jenna Lee and Andrew McNichol.

12 July-5 August, Sadler’s Wells: Matthew Bourne’s award-winning Play Without Words, originally premiered at the National Theatre in 2002, revived in a four-week season. A funny, sinister society power-play in the vein of Joseph Losey's film The Servant, with a Belgravia gentleman and his fiancée disturbed by their new manservant. And all is played out in triplicate.

2-6 October, Sadler’s Wells: Akram Khan’s 2011 solo work, DESH, inspired by his parents' homeland of Bangladesh, returns. Design collaborators include visual artist Tim Yip (production designer for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), lighting designer Michael Hulls, writer and poet Karthika Nair and composer Jocelyn Pook.

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