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Press Release: Russell Maliphant and Michael Hulls celebrate 20 years of collaboration with new production

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A Sadler’s Wells co-production
Russell Maliphant Company

Conceal | Reveal 
World premiere and tour
Friday 2 October - Saturday 28 November 2015

Sadler’s Wells presents the world premiere and tour of Conceal | Reveal from Friday 2 October to Saturday 28 November 2015, a celebration of the 20th anniversary of one of the most prolific and highly acclaimed artistic collaborations, between contemporary dance choreographer Russell Maliphant and lighting designerMichael Hulls. This Sadler’s Wells and Russell Maliphant Company co-production, which tours across the UK and internationally, honours the unique and unparalleled language between light and movement that these two award-winning Sadler’s Wells Associate Artists have developed over the past two decades. 

To mark the occasion and celebrate this extraordinary relationship, Russell Maliphant Company presents both new and classic work, including the iconic trio Broken Fall, performed by Carys StatonAdam Kirkham andNathan Young and accompanied by music from Barry Adamson. The piece was originally performed in 2003 by Sylvie Guillem and the BalletBoyz, Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, and was awarded an Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production in 2004. 

The evening also sees the return to dance of former Royal Ballet dancer Dana Fouras, after over 10 years, who performs a new solo created specially for the occasion by Maliphant. Some of Maliphant’s most famous works, Sheer and Two, have been created for Fouras, who has worked with him on numerous dance works for stage, film and television. The new solo piece features a commissioned score by cutting edge composer Mukuland costume by iconic fashion designer Stevie Stewart

The other new creation performed in the programme is a quintet for the new line-up of Maliphant’s company of outstanding dancers. The piece sees Maliphant’s continued fascination with the bridge between classical and contemporary movement, exploring how the dynamic architecture of light informs the performers’ physical language and feeds their relationship with the rhythmic, energetic and emotional elements of music. 

Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Russell Maliphant said: “Movement and articulation for me have a logic related to flow, gravity, dynamics, line, form, rhythm and space. These elements can be seen not only to relate to the body but also to the shape, form, direction and intensity of light.” He continued: “Michael and I both share an interest in sculpture and the way light and movement interact and we follow this in our work together – whether this means dealing with the frame implied by a light, the intensity of brightness, the direction of movement in a transition or the rhythmic interplay of the elements.”

Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Michael Hulls said: “Over our twenty years of collaboration Russell and I have put lighting at the forefront of the process of creating dance. No matter what the production, our aim has always been to combine the choreography of the body and the choreography of light to create a symbiotic whole in which both those elements can reach their full potential.”

Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding said: “With this production we are honouring not just two of our Associate Artists, but the outstanding artistic achievements made between them collaboratively. Russell and Michael share a passion for and dedication to innovative dance making and their extraordinary partnership has created some of the most memorable performances in dance over the last 20 years. This is a fitting tribute to their combined vision that has won such acclaim among UK audiences and all over the world.”

Russell Maliphant is one of the longest standing Associate Artists of Sadler’s Wells. During his hugely successful career he has received many of the highest theatrical accolades including an Olivier Award, two South Bank Show Awards and three Critics' Circle Awards. Similarly, Michael Hulls has won several awards including an Olivier for Outstanding Achievement in Dance in 2014 and a Knight of Illumination Award.

Conceal | Reveal is co-produced by Sadler’s Wells and Russell Maliphant Company and supported by Arts Council England, and co-commissioned by DanceEast, The Lowry Salford Quays and The Point Eastleigh. The Monument Trust supports co-productions and new commissions at Sadler's Wells. 

2-3 October – DanceEast, Ipswich, UK
6-7 October – Roma Europa, Rome, Italy
15-16 October – The Point, Eastleigh, UK
22 October – The Lowry, Salford Quays, UK
3 November – Wyvern Theatre, Swindon, UK
10 November – Lakeside, Nottingham, UK
13 November – Northcott, Exeter, UK 
17 November – Weston Auditorium, University of Hertfordshire, UK
20 November – The Lighthouse, Poole, UK
26-28 November – Sadler’s Wells, London, UK


Sadler’s Wells
Sadler's Wells is a world leader in contemporary dance, committed to producing, commissioning and presenting new works and to bringing the very best international and UK dance to London and worldwide audiences. Under the Artistic Directorship of Alistair Spalding the theatre’s acclaimed year-round programme spans dance of every kind, from contemporary to flamenco, Bollywood to ballet, salsa to street dance and tango to tap. Since 2005 it has helped to bring over 90 new dance works to the stage and its international award-winning commissions and collaborative productions regularly tour the world. Sadler’s Wells supports 16 appointed world class Associate Artists, three Resident Companies and an Associate Company and nurtures the next generation of talent through hosting the National Youth Dance Company, its Summer University programme, its Wild Card initiative and its New Wave Associates.

Located in Islington in north London, the current theatre is the sixth to have stood on the site since it was first built by Richard Sadler in 1683. The venue has played an illustrious role in the history of theatre ever since, with The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Opera all having started at Sadler’s Wells.

Sadler’s Wells is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation and currently receives approximately 9% of its revenue from Arts Council England. 

Russell Maliphant
Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Russell Maliphant trained at the Royal Ballet School and graduated into Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet Company before leaving to pursue a career in independent dance. As a dancer he worked with companies such as DV8 Physical Theatre, Michael Clark & Company, Laurie Booth and Rosemary Butcher and also studied anatomy, physiology and bio-mechanics. He became certified as a practitioner of the Rolfing Method of Structural Integration in 1994 and this has subsequently informed both his teaching and choreographic work.

He created his first solo in 1992 and formed the Russell Maliphant Company in 1996 which has sought to integrate and explore elements from a diverse range of body practices and techniques, including classical ballet, contact improvisation, yoga, capoeira, tai chi & chi gung. He has collaborated closely with the lighting designer Michael Hulls, and in addition to working with his own company of dancers, has set works on renowned companies and artists including: Sylvie Guillem, Robert Lepage, The Ballet Boyz, Lyon Opera Ballet, Ricochet Dance Company, CobosMika, The Batsheva Ensemble, and Ballet de Lorraine.

He has been the recipient of several awards including two Olivier Awards for, a Critics Circle National Dance Award for Best Choreography (Modern) and a South Bank Show Award.

Michael Hulls
Michael trained in dance and theatre at Dartington College and in 1992 was awarded a bursary by the Arts Council to attend dance lighting workshops with Jennifer Tipton in New York.

Over the last 20 years Michael has worked exclusively in dance, particularly with choreographer Russell Maliphant, and established a reputation as a “choreographer of light”. Their collaborations have won international critical acclaim and many awards: Sheer won a Time Out Award for Outstanding Collaboration, Choice won a South Bank Show Dance Award, PUSH, with Sylvie Guillem, won four major awards including the Olivier for Best New Dance Production and Afterlight won two Critics Circle awards.

In 2009, Michael became an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells, the first non-choreographer to do so. In 2010, his contribution to dance was recognised with his entry into the Oxford Dictionary of Dance, where he joins Jean Rosenthal, Jennifer Tipton and John B Read as only the fourth lighting designer to be given an entry. Michael was nominated for the 2012 Theatre Managers Association award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance for his “brilliant contribution to lighting for dance; in particular for DESHTorsion and The Rodin Project”. In 2014 Michael received the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance.

Dana Fouras
Dana Fouras trained as a classical dancer in Australia and at The Royal Ballet School. She won Adeline Genée Silver medals in 1984 & 1985 and Prix de Lausanne medal in 1986. On joining The Royal Ballet in 1988 she created the role of Lead Girl in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Soirée Musical and danced roles such as Juliet in MacMillan’s Romeo & Juliet, Solo Swan in Swan LakeRequiem and My Brother My Sisters and created leading roles with choreographers Page, Bintley & Tuckett.

In 1994 she left the Royal Ballet to pursue a career in independent dance, touring with Irek Mukhamedov, Jonathon Burrows and Russell Maliphant. Works with Russell include the duet Sheer, which won a Time Out Live Award in 2001 and the solo Two. Dana has worked closely with Russell on numerous dance works, film for dance and commercial projects as researcher and collaborative assistant since 1998.

Mukul is co-director of ambientspace, an artist-run studio in London that produces critical, intermedia work, often involving public participation. He plays predominantly with sound, language, and processes; past projects include an audio-visual performance based on the preparation of food, and a (playable) harp with strings of razor wire. As sound artist, he composes for experimental film (Manu Luksch, Isaac Julien) and dance (Shobana Jeyasingh, BalletBoyz). His writing ranges from film scripts (FACELESS, voiced by Tilda Swinton) to nonfiction in the realms of art, mathematics and technology – including books for children. Influences: the music of North India, early electronic music, Oulipo. Mukul has collaborated on 5 projects with Russell including a commission for Lyon Opera Ballet (2004) and for Bayerische Staatsballett (2014).

Stevie Stewart
Formally one half of the innovative and influential fashion design label BodyMap, Stevie now works with top creative names in fashion, music, film and advertising as a costume, set and production designer and fashion stylist. 

In the dance world, she began collaborating with Michael Clark in 1984, creating memorable costumes for many of his productions. She has also costumed Rambert Dance Company and Jean Abreau. She has had previous collaborations with Russell Maliphant Company and worked with him on Afterlight and Still Current

Other theatrical collaborations include: costume design for Jan-Willem van den Bosch’s Mother Courage and her Children (Graeae Theatre Company) and costume designs for The Importance of Being Earnest directed by David Fielding (Bristol Old Vic). Film credits include: production and costume designer for Jan Dunn’s Ruby Blue, costume designer for Baillie Walsh’s Flashbacks of a Fool starring Daniel Craig and costume and production design for Jan Dunn’s The Calling. 

Stevie has also designed costumes for several international music tours including Kylie Minogue’s KYLIEX2008, Show Girl and Homecoming and most recently her Aphrodite tour. Stevie worked on William Baker’s The Hurly Burly Show as costume and set designer.

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