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Press Release: 2016 line-up of National Youth Dance Company premieres new work by Michael Keegan-Dolan


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A Sadler’s Wells production

National Youth Dance Company /
Michael Keegan-Dolan

In – Nocentes

WORLD PREMIERE (followed by national tour)
Sadler’s Wells, EC1R 4TN
Thursday 7 April at 7.30pm 

Tickets: £12 (concessions £6 including under-18s)
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or 
www.sadlerswells.com

This year’s line-up of the National Youth Dance Company (NYDC), the country’s flagship organisation for young dancers, performs a new creation by the company’s Guest Artistic Director Michael Keegan-Dolan, an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells. The work entitled In – Nocentes receives its world premiere on Thursday 7 April at Sadler’s Wells, which is followed by a national tour in June and July. 

Set to Max Richter’s re-composition of The Four Seasons by Vivaldi, performed live by Southbank Sinfonia, this new NYDC commission is a ritualistic piece with which Keegan-Dolan celebrates the natural and instinctive way in which young people can move and behave. 

The Latin root nocens implies “harm”. As we grow older we become accustomed to living cautiously – but the title In – Nocentes denotes the confidence of youth to open oneself to a situation without reservation or fear. While this might appear risky, it also creates the possibility for something wonderful to unfold. This sublimely musical work sees Richter’s recomposed Vivaldi score permeate the bodies of the dancers, which display rhythmical, vibrant and natural movement. The choreography excavates the score to reveal hidden percussive elements, while maintaining an aesthetic simplicity.

Keegan-Dolan is founder and artistic director of Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre. His productions GiselleThe Bull and The Rite of Spring were all nominated for Olivier Awards and The Bull won the UK Critics' Circle Award for Best Modern Choreography in 2008. He has worked on productions for world-class companies and theatres including English National Opera, La Monnaie, Royal Opera House and National Theatre. 

In his appointment as NYDC Guest Artistic Director, Keegan-Dolan follows in the footsteps of Jasmin Vardimon, Akram Khan and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, who have each in turn held the position over previous years. Through their work with NYDC, these internationally acclaimed figures illustrate their commitment to young artists and highlight the power young dancers have to shape the future of dance. 

This year’s diverse cohort of 41 young dancers comprises 30 new members, selected through NYDC Experience Workshops held in towns and cities all over the country, and 11 dancers returning from last year’s NYDC cohort. The dancers are mentored during three intensive residencies through the year in order to create, rehearse and develop the new piece. 

Now in its fourth year, NYDC has established a reputation for innovative, challenging and influential work, and producing open-minded, curious and brave dancers. The company brings together the brightest talent from across England, immersing the members fully in the process of creating, performing and touring new work, giving them a unique insight into the dance profession. NYDC has a track record of putting young people on paths to successful dance careers, with over 80% of all former NYDC dancers now either in further dance studies, in vocational training or working professionally.

NYDC Guest Artistic Director and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Michael Keegan-Dolan said: “Innocence is often associated with weakness – but there is tremendous strength and beauty in the ability to remain open in the face of perceived harm.  As adults, we lose our innocence as we learn to live safe or exact lives and in the process we can easily forget what it means to live fully. With this work I celebrate the wonderful individuality, freedom, diversity and innocence of these bold young dancers, who have the power to shape the future of their world.”

NYDC Director Jane Hackett said: “We believe in the importance of identifying talent at an early age. These young people have the potential to be the future leaders of the dance world and we want to provide them with as many tools as possible to excel and succeed. Joining NYDC can be a life-changing experience, presenting career possibilities, raising aspirations, self-esteem and confidence, and introducing the very best of professional dance practice.”

Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding said: “It is vital for the health of the dance sector that there is a pipeline of talent feeding it, and I firmly believe that young performers should have the opportunity to work to the highest standards and with world class resources in the dance profession. The outstanding skills of NYDC dancers demonstrate how crucial it is to make sure young talent is properly nurtured and allowed to flourish.”

NYDC is jointly funded by Arts Council England and the Department for Education from the National Lottery and Grant in Aids funds


Under 5s admitted

Confirmed tour dates (with further dates TBC):
Sunday 26 June: Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham 
Saturday 3 July: Dance City, Newcastle 
Sunday 4 July: Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds 
Friday 8 July: The Lowry, Salford
Tuesday 19 July: Jerwood Dance House, Ipswich 
Thursday 21 July: Falmouth University
Saturday 23 July: Mac, Birmingham

Confirmed NYDC Experience Workshops for 2016-17 intake (with further dates TBC):
Saturday 28 MayDanceXchange, Birmingham
Sunday 29 MaySadler’s Wells, London
Monday 30 MayUClan, Preston
Tuesday 31 MayWyke College, Hull
Wednesday 1 JuneMarina Studios, Brighton
Thursday 2 JuneThe Garage, Norwich
Friday 3 JuneDance East, Ipswich
Saturday 4 JuneSwindon Dance
Saturday 4 June: Plymouth Dance
Sunday 5 JuneThe Point, Eastleigh
Sunday 26 JuneLakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham
Saturday 2 JulyDance City, Newcastle
Sunday 3 JulyStanley and Audrey Burton Theatre, Leeds
Saturday 9 July: Manchester 

NOTES TO EDTORS:

National Youth Dance Company 
Founded in 2012, and hosted at Sadler’s Wells, NYDC is an exciting young company that creates and performs innovative and influential dance, drawing together some of the brightest young talent from across the country to work with Sadler’s Wells’ internationally renowned Associate Artists. NYDC is funded jointly by Arts Council England and the Department for Education, from the National Lottery and Grant in Aid funds.

Since NYDC’s inception in 2012:
- 120 dancers have joined the company, working intensively with renowned dance artists including Guest Artistic Directors: Jasmin Vardimon (2012-13), Akram Khan (2013-14) and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (2014-15) and Michael Keegan Dolan (2015-16). These 120 dancers come from 48 different towns and cities in England.
- Over 1500 young people have worked with the company
- NYDC has delivered 66 workshops in 26 different venues across 23 towns and cities
- Over 25,000 people have seen the company perform
- NYDC has featured in 36 performances, visiting 19 different venues across the UK, including some leading theatres in the country.

Sadler’s Wells
Sadler's Wells is a world-leading dance house, 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 award-winning commissions and collaborative productions regularly tour internationally. Sadler’s Wells supports 16 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, Wild Card initiative and its New Wave Associates.

Located in Islington, 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 10% of its revenue from Arts Council England. 

Michael Keegan-Dolan
Born in 1969, Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Michael Keegan-Dolan lives in his family ancestral home in County Longford. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre.

Productions for Fabulous Beast include: Sunday Lunch (1997), Fragile (1999), The Flowerbed (2000), TheChristmas Show (2001), Giselle (2003), The Bull (2005), James Son of James (2007), The Rite of Spring(2009), Helen and Hell (2010), and Rian (2011).

Most recently, he directed and choreographed a new production of Handel's masterpiece Julius Caesar, at the London Coliseum, for English National Opera. Other choreographic work includes: AriodanteManon and Alcina (English National Opera); The Rake's Progress (La Monnaie, Royal Opera House); Faust and Macbeth(Royal Opera House); The Duchess of MalfiCarousel and The Oedipus Plays (National Theatre); Idomeneo(Royal Flanders Opera); The Love for Three Oranges (Cologne Opera); Pique Dame and Ariodante (Bavarian State Opera).

Rian was nominated for a 2011 Irish Times Theatre Award. GiselleThe Bull and The Rite of Spring were all nominated for Olivier awards and in 2008 Michael won the UK Critics' Circle Award for Best Modern Choreography for The Bull. In 2004, Giselle won the Judges' Special Award at the Irish Times Theatre Awards. Both Michael and Fabulous Beast received a nomination for the 2009 Europe Prize New Theatrical Realities.

Michael and writer Enda Walsh were awarded the 2012 Meadows Prize by the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University, Dallas (SMU), and they spent three weeks in residence at SMU, workshopping a new dance theatre production.

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