Sadler’s Wells hosts unique residency and presents private sharing of work from National Youth Dance Company

National Youth Dance Company

Sadler’s Wells is delighted to welcome dancers back to its building for the first time since lockdown, with a special residency and sharing of work from National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) and Guest Artistic Director Russell Maliphant. The 2019/20 cohort will reunite at the company’s home at Sadler’s Wells to complete their year, culminating in a set of private COVID-secure sharings for friends and family.

NYDC were half way through their creative process with Russell Maliphant when the UK went into lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Their April residency, premiere and national tour had to be cancelled. Now, the 39 dancers will be returning to Sadler’s Wells to rehearse, re-work and share extracts from the originally conceived work in progress.

The dancers will work in small groups of no more than 10, enabling them to follow social distancing measures. Each group will rehearse separately for four days at Sadler’s Wells, and then share their work on the final day of their short, intensive residency. The sharings will be staggered between 27 August and 5 September. The events will be attended by a privately invited audience of friends and family, giving the young dancers a special moment to complete their year and share their practice, whilst reflecting on the year that has passed and celebrating the company.

MADHEAD NYDC by Manuel Vason
MADHEAD NYDC by Manuel Vason

These are the first events staged at Sadler’s Wells since it closed its doors as a result of the escalating coronavirus crisis in March 2020, with this residency being the first time that artists and dancers have returned to work in the building since that time. These events also mark the first steps taken by Sadler’s Wells as the organisation works towards re-opening and ways to present work and welcome audiences with social distancing measures in place.

National Youth Dance Company is the country’s flagship company for young dancers run by Sadler’s Wells. It creates and performs innovative and influential dance, bringing together some of the brightest dance talent from across England and Wales to work with acclaimed dance artists. Now in its eighth year, the 2019/2020 company’s guest Artistic Director is internationally renowned choreographer Russell Maliphant. The next cohort of dancers for 2020-2021 will be led by guest Artistic Director Alesandra Seutin, with recruitment of the cohort beginning this October.

NYDC - Madhead
NYDC – Madhead

This year’s full-length dance piece, to be created by the dancers and Russell during their year-long experience, was due to premiere at  DanceEast on 18 April. This was meant to be followed by a UK tour culminating in a performance on the main stage at Sadler’s Wells in July. However, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, all intended NYDC activity was cancelled in spring 2020. Despite this, the company adapted creatively, quickly assembling a ‘digital residency’ in April – with dancers, choreographers and guest speakers meeting together each day online. Since the end of the residency, the company has continued to keep in touch online.

Outside of dance, life has been hugely unsettled for the NYDC company this year: schools have been closed, exams disrupted, and future training opportunities changed. These unique events are a reimagined celebration of the company members, representing the culmination of NYDC’s year, and its dancers’ resilience, talent and hard work, before, during and after lockdown.