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Press Release: Nitin Sawhney and Wang Ramirez's Dystopian Dream to receive World Premiere

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Dystopian Dream to receive World Premiere in 2017

New Sadler’s Wells production created from a concept originated by 2017 Ivor Novello Award recipient Nitin Sawhney and co-devised with choreographers Honji Wang and Sébastien Ramirez

- Renowned fashion designer Hussein Chalayan joins creative team

- Sadler’s Wells to tour the production internationally with World Premiere at Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg in September 2017

- UK Premiere at Sadler’s Wells in Autumn 2018

Dystopian Dream, a new Sadler’s Wells music and dance theatrical production created from a concept originated by Nitin Sawhney and co-devised with Honji Wang and Sébastien Ramirez, will receive its World Premiere in Luxembourg in September this year, with a UK Premiere at Sadler’s Wells in Autumn 2018. This Sadler’s Wells production is being rehearsed and developed following a critically acclaimed taster performance at the Royal Albert Hall last year.

Pioneering musician, producer and composer, as well as a Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist, Sawhney yesterday received the 2017 Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement, which recognises exceptional creative talent. He released his 10th studio album Dystopian Dream in 2015, focussing on themes of loss, isolation, surrender and continuity. This production of Dystopian Dream has choreography and performance by the multi award-winning Wang Ramirez. Sawhney has been developing ideas with Ramirez and Wang on Dystopian Dreamsince 2015, and last year they danced to four of his songs at the Royal Albert Hall in a concert co-produced by Sadler’s Wells. This is now being expanded to a full-length dance production to the entire album, combining choreography, music and theatre, uniting Wang Ramirez’ physical hip hop influenced dance language with Sawhney’s iconic music.


Joining Sawhney, Ramirez and Wang, Dystopian Dream will have costume designs by Hussein Chalayan, video designs by Nick Hillel, set designs by Shizuka Hariu and lighting designs by Natasha ChiversEva Stone is to return as singer and performer. 

Nitin Sawhney said: I am excited at the prospect of a collaboration with Sadler’s Wells in transforming what began as a cathartic album project into a full scale internationally touring and choreographed show. The themes and ideas underlying the songs of the album will have a chance to breathe in an entirely new dimension and be explored by two of the most exciting choreographers on the contemporary scene today. Honji Wang and Sébastien Ramirez performed with my band at the Royal Albert Hall to critical acclaim and are now bringing the entire album to life in an unprecedented form that promises to elevate the work. Along with the brilliant creative team and Eva Stone’s soaring vocals this should be an unforgettable experience."

Sébastien Ramirez and Honji Wang said: Dystopian Dream is an exciting challenge for us, turning 15 tracks from Nitin Sawhney’s existing album into a global interpretation that will become a full evening piece. Our objective is to absorb the idea of the album and communicate an entire story of emotions through our body and our movement into a dance-theatre piece. We are very happy to have Eva Stone as part of the performance, she has a great voice that will bring a great asset to the production.

Alistair Spalding, Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive says: It’s absolutely fitting that Nitin’s achievements and diverse creative talent should be recognised in this significant way. We have a longstanding relationship with him dating back to 2005, when, with zero degrees, he was among the first artists to be involved in our move to bring new dance works to the stage, and he has continued to be involved since then as an Associate Artist. At Sadler’s Wells, we believe in the importance of giving artists the opportunity to develop and test new ideas, and we work with them to help realise those ideas, facilitating introductions and supporting the creative process. I’m delighted that Sadler’s Wells has been able to support Nitin’s vision for his fantastic album to evolve into a full-length music and dance production with Honji and Sébastien.

Nitin Sawhney has an established relationship with Sadler’s Wells, having been an Associate Artist since 2010. Renowned for his work in music over the past three decades, Sawhney spearheaded the 90’s “Asian Underground” movement with his ground-breaking and Mercury-nominated albums, including Beyond Skin. Since then he’s received numerous awards to include a MOBO, two BBC Radio 3 awards, the South Bank Show award and two Ivor Novello nominations. Sawhney has extensively scored for video games, film and television, and multiple theatrical and dance productions. Sawhney’s work in theatre and dance includes the scores for Complicite’s A Disappearing Number and Akram Khan’s zero degrees, both of which won Olivier Awards, with the latter earning him a New York Performance and Dance Award for best score.

Award-winning choreographers Sébastien Ramirez and Honji Wang, who worked and performed with Sawhney for the Royal Albert Hall event, are renowned for developing a unique movement vocabulary rooted in hip hop, which incorporates multiple artistic influences from contemporary dance, ballet and martial art movements. The duo’s choreographic language is often referred to as urban Tanztheater and their pieces have won many accolades, including the Outstanding Performers Award at the Bessies in New York. Their other awards include the 1st Prize and Audience Prize at the International Choreography Competition of Hannover, as well as the Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative Program nomination, amongst others. Wang and Ramirez developed a conceptual dance performance for the opening celebration of the arts space MADE in Berlin. In 2015, they contributed to the creation phase in New York City and choreographed for the live show of Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour. Most recently the pair presented Borderline, a gravity-defying work through a subtle use of rigging, at Sadler’s Wells.

Hussein Chalayan is an internationally renowned fashion designer and artist whose collections are acclaimed for innovative design, bold use of technology and elegant minimalism. He was named British Designer of the Year in 1999 and 2000. Throughout his career Chalayan has partnered with musicians, actors and members of the design, art, theatre and fashion fields and his work is regularly shown in major galleries including Musée Des Arts Décoratifs at the Louvre, London Design Museum and National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. The Sadler’s Wells production Gravity Fatigue, Chalayan’s first dance work on which he was director and designer, premiered in 2015 and he has also previously presented three fashion shows at the venue.

Nitin Sawhney is a Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist

A Sadler’s Wells co-production with Wang Ramirez / Clash 66; Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg; Théâtre de la Ville-Paris; Stanford Live; Théâtre de l’Archipel, scène nationale de Perpignan

Dystopian Dream is presented with the support of COLAS

The Monument Trust supports co-productions and new commissions at Sadler’s Wells


Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, Luxembourg
29 & 30 September 2017

Ticket Office: +352 4708951 or luxembourgticket.lu

Theatre de la Ville-Espace Cardin, Paris, France
24 January - 4 February22-26 May 2018

Ticket Office: 01 4274 2277 or theatredelaville-paris.com

Théâtre de l'Archipel, scène nationale de Perpignan, France
7 & 8 June 2018

Ticket Office: +33 4 68 62 62 00 or theatredelarchipel.org  

Sadler’s Wells, London, UK
Autumn 2018 (details to be announced)


Sadler's Wells is a world-leading dance house, committed to producing, commissioning and presenting new works and to bringing the 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 130 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, an Associate Company and three International Associate Companies. It also nurtures the next generation of talent through research and development, running the National Youth Dance Company and a range of programmes including Wild Card, New Wave Associates, Open Art Surgery and Summer University.  

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 9% of its revenue from Arts Council England. 



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