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Press Release: Performance lecture, in the Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler's Wells

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Matthias Sperling                                                                       
Now That We Know    
Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells, EC1R 4TN
Thursday 29 September 2016
Performance: 8pm
Tickets: £15
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com

London based, Canadian born choreographer and performer Matthias Sperling makes his Sadler’s Wells choreographic debut with the UK Premiere of Now That We Know, a performance lecture, in the Lilian Baylis Studio on Thursday 29 September.

Now That We Know continues Sperling’s investigation into the relationship between mind and body and explores a hypothetical future in which science has discovered precisely how our bodies give rise to our minds, and considers how dance and choreography could be expanded by this new understanding. This work of science fiction builds on recent findings, taking a choreographic perspective to freely imagine plausible, absurd, thrilling or worrying scenarios. 

Sperling’s artistic research is invested in close interactions with both contemporary visual arts and the brain sciences, and seeks to explore how changes in our conceptions of what we are affect what we can do. Reflecting this back into his choreographic research, Sperling explores how changes in the cultural understanding of the limits and capacities of a body can expand the limits and capacities of choreography

Born in Toronto in 1974, Sperling studied with the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre and went on to study philosophy at university in Canada before coming to the UK to complete his dance training with Transitions Dance Company at Laban. He went on to dance with UK companies including Sadler’s Wells Associate Artists and Resident Companies, Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance and Matthew Bourne’s Adventures In Motion Pictures, before pursuing his own choreographic work. 

His works include performances in theatres, galleries and museums and include video works and exchanges that take place in public spaces and online. His work has been presented at leading arts venues and dance festivals including, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Southbank Centre, Royal Opera House, Dance Umbrella, Nottdance and Springdance (NL). Sperling often collaborates with leading dance and visual artists, including Siobhan Davies, together with whom he created and presented works at galleries including the ICA, Whitechapel, Hayward, Tramway and Turner Contemporary. He has also worked with Pablo Bronstein, Carlos Motta and Hetain Patel, and composers including Scanner and George Benjamin.

Free post-show talk: Thursday 29 September

Supported by Arts Council England, Siobhan Davies Dance, and Dance4

Notes to Editors:

Listings information
Matthias Sperling                                                                                  
Now That We Know    
Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells, EC1R 4TN
Thursday 29 September 2016
Tickets: £15
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com

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.

Matthias Sperling was an Associate Artist with Dance4 (2007-2015) and is the winner of a Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award (2008). Sperling was part of Independent Dance’s Solo Performance Commissioning Project with American choreographer Deborah Hay in 2012, where he created and performed an adaptation of Hay’s choreographic score Dynamic, a choreographer who has hugely influenced Sperling’s practice.

More recently, he took part in the first cohort of Sadler’s Wells Summer University 2010 - 2014, and was asked by Sadler’s Wells to partake in a series of talks called We need to talk where new names in dance and performance were asked to invite leading creative voices to join them in conversation about why dance matters today and how it relates to an expanding creative field. 

Sperling has been part of a collaborative research project with cognitive neuroscientist Guido Orgs (Goldsmiths University) and social psychologist Daniel Richardson (UCL) investigating moving together in groups. Combining choreographic practice and scientific methods, they studied what it means to move in synchrony, how it affects those who do it (performers) and those who watch it (perceivers). 

As part of this research, Sperling created ‘Group Study’, a choreographic score for 10 performers. Performances of the score are both artistic events and scientific experiments, in which physiological responses are measured via wristwatch-like sensors worn by the performers and audience members. Audience members are also asked to report their experience while watching, using a custom made app on a tablet computer. Before and after the performance/experiment, audience members are asked to complete short questionnaires. 

The research is part of an 18-month study, funded by a £250,000 grant from the Economic and Social Research Council.



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