Photo by Ardian Lumi

BBC Arts outlines some of the BBC’s ambitions for dance programming in 2018!


BBC Arts lifts the curtain on thriving dance scene with a special season of programming for BBC Four this spring, featuring some of today’s most exciting dance makers and the enduring legacy of others whilst shining a light on a broad range of dance styles from ballet and contemporary, to tap and hip-hop.

Ballet’s Dark Knight – Sir Kenneth MacMillan explores the life and work of the celebrated yet controversial choreographer, whose pioneering creativity unleashed over sixty new ballets that changed the dance landscape forever. Weaving together stunning specially shot performance footage, never before seen family home movies and MacMillan’s own voice from the archives alongside those who were closest to him, the documentary reveals MacMillan to have been a complex figure who lit up the ballet world with his bold choreographic genius while struggling privately with alcoholism, anxiety and depression. Packed full of extraordinary ballet excerpts showcasing a wide range of MacMillan’s work including Romeo and Juliet, Manon and Mayerling, the programme offers a surprisingly moving and intimate portrait of a true giant of twentieth-century culture. Featuring contributions from MacMillan’s family, Darcey Bussell, Dame Monica Mason and Sir Anthony Dowell. Producer and Director is Luke McMahon for the BBC Studios. Executive Producer is Tanya Hudson for the BBC Studios. Commissioning Editor and Executive Producer is: Emma Cahusac for BBC Arts

Award-winning choreographer and Barbican Artistic Associate Michael Clark presents his acclaimed ‘to a simple, rock ’n’ roll . . . song.’, recorded at the Barbican last autumn. The work is set to music by Erik Satie, Patti Smith and David Bowie and is known for its technical rigour, experimentation, intense and fine-tuned choreography. Producer is Adrienne Liron for 3 minutes West. Director is Jeff Tudor for 3 minutes West. Commissioning Editor and Executive Producer is Emma Cahusac for BBC Arts

Clarke Peters, actor (The Wire, The Corner, Treme) and creator of the hit musical ‘Five Guys Named Moe’, undertakes a personal journey of discovery across America to explore the history and origins of Tap Dancing in Clarke Peters’ Tap America – an art form that has remained close to his heart since he was a child. His journey takes audiences from the 19th century conflict between Irish and African-American dancers through the troubled, white-washed Hollywood heyday of tap in the 30’s and 40s through to the 21st century and tap’s contemporary significance. Producer and Director is David Upshal for BBC Studios. Executive Producer is Mark Cooper for BBC Studios and Commissioning and Executive Producer is Emma Cahusac for BBC Arts.

Four specially commissioned  30-minute films in partnership with Sadler’s Wells, place some of today’s most exciting dance artists centre stage;  Zenaida Yanowsky, Carlos Pons Guerra, Shobana Jeyasingh, Dickson Mbi. The films provide unique insight into their creative processes as they rehearse new works and interpretations for the stage. Producer is Bia Oliveira for Sadler’s Wells and Director is Glen Milner for ClearStory. Executive Producer is Molly Milton and Russell Barnes for ClearStory. Executive Producer is Alistair Spalding for Sadler’s Wells. Commissioning Editor and Executive Producer is Emma Cahusac for BBC Arts.

Jonty Claypole, BBC Director of Arts says;

“This is an exceptional year of programming on the BBC, from the biggest arts commission in decades, Civilisations, to world-class creative documentaries across TV and radio, ground-breaking performance, review and criticism and arts participation projects right the way across the UK to inspire everyone. As the nation’s stage, the BBC wants the UK to be the most creative and culturally engaged Country in the world because the arts bring us together like nothing else. There really will be something for everyone who loves the arts on the BBC in 2018.”