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Press Release: FranceDance UK at Sadler's Wells

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FranceDance UK
Sadler’s Wells, EC1R 4TN
Monday 30 September - Tuesday 12 November 2019
Performances at 7:30pm
Tickets: £15 - £50
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com

In partnership with the Institut français’ FranceDance UK, from August - November 2019, dance from France and francophone countries is being featured across the UK, with 50 performances, across 9 major UK cities. 


Sadler’s Wells is one of the 16 partners and opens its French season with the much-loved Ballet Preljocaj. French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj‘s interpretation of the traditional Chinese tale La Fresque or ‘The Painting on the Wall’ follows on from the company’s seven year absence and receives its UK premiere from 30 September - 2 October.




After Snow White in 2012, Preljocaj continues his exploration of fairy tales with the eponymous medieval Chinese story, The Painting on the Wall. The story explores themes of transcendence and illusion as the characters enter into another dimension with the painting.

La Fresque features costumes by late Tunisian-born couturier and shoe designer Azzedine Alaïa, a haunting set by Preljocaj’s regular collaborator Constance Guisset, and with a combination of electronica and urban sounds, features music from co-founder of the musical duo Air, Nicholas Godin.


Preljocaj founded Ballet Preljocaj in 1984 and has been invited to create works for an array of other companies including Paris Opera Ballet, Berlin Ballet and New York City Ballet. He is an “Officier des Arts et des Lettres”, a “Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur” and he was appointed an “Officier de l’ordre du Mérite” in May 2006. In 2014, he received the Samuel H. Scripps/ American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement.



Opening Dance Umbrella 2019, on 8 & 9 October, is the UK premiere of Crowd by French choreographer, director and visual artist Gisèle Vienne. Crowd is a hallucinatory rollercoaster, swept along by the intense emotions and collective euphoria of a committed party crowd laid bare through intoxicating movement. 

To the pulsating ebbs and flows of a techno-trance soundtrack, 15 mud-splattered individuals present slowed ritualistic scenes to reveal moments of exhilaration, love, intimacy and violence. Drawing on her own experiences in Berlin, Vienne expertly harnesses the undulating, stuttering, liquid physicality of the club scene to magnify the interactions of a group of revellers. 


Vienne has previously worked with Etienne Bideau-Rey, writer Dennis Cooper, musicians Peter Rehberg and Stephen O’Malley, and lighting designer Patrick Riou.




On 11 & 12 October, co-devised by French choreographer Boris Charmatz, theatre director Emmanuel Demarcy Mota and Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, Sadler’s Wells presents the UK premiere of seven works from Paris’ bi-annual two-day competition, Danse Élargie.


Working across all of the disciplines within visual and performing arts, contestants are invited to create a work which must be under 10 minutes long and include three performers. The contest is hosted at the acclaimed Théâtre de la Ville and during the fifth edition in 2018, had 460 applicants from 70 countries. 18 entries were shortlisted for the first round and 10 for the second.

Sadler’s Wells presents three winners from the 2018 edition: French-Belgian artist Elsa Chense’sMUR/MER, French hip hop artist Ousmane Sy’s female driven Queen Blood and cinematic Family Honour - from the former Wild Card curator and British hip hop theatre artist, Kwame Asafo-Adjei. The rest of the performances come from a pick of finalists: 
Jusung Lee’s EyeClémentine Vanlerberghe’s and Fabritia D'Intino’s Plubel, Pietro Marullo’s Wreck - list of Extinct Species and lastly, one of 2016’s winners who has collaborated with Christine and the Queens: (LA) Horde who presents its jumpstyle To Da Bone.

Danse Élargie has become an important reference point in the artistic calendar for emerging artists.



On 11 & 12 November, Emanuel Gat Dance returns to Sadler’s Wells to celebrate its dancers’ unique virtuosity and fearlessness. A group of 10 dancers share the stage in a series of six short pieces, varying in structure, musical composition and choreographic direction. WORKS is an exploration of the evolution in which dance, and art in general, is being produced to examine new models of artistic production, while questioning boundaries, hierarchies and the notion of inclusiveness. Gat moves the dancers through the musical landscapes to showcase the varied responses, relationships and interpretations. WORKSreceived its premiere at Montpellier Danse Festival in 2017.


Double Bessie Award-winning Israeli choreographer Emanuel Gat began dancing with Liat Dror Nir Ben Gal Company before founding Emanuel Gat Dance in Tel Aviv in 2004. He decided to settle in France in 2007. He has been invited to create works for a variety of dance companies across the globe including The Paris Opera Ballet, Sydney Dance Company, Candoco Dance Company, Royal Swedish Ballet, Polish National Ballet, Ballet British Columbia and Cedar Lake among others. He is an Associate Artist of the National Theater of Chaillot in Paris.


Originally launched by the Institut français in Paris, in 2007, FranceDance festivals have previously been presented in China, Korea, Italy, Russia, Quebec, Brazil, Spain, Austria and New York. This year is the first time the festival has been produced in the UK.

Part of FranceDance UK

International dance artist Carlos Acosta is Honorary Patron of FranceDance UK

Notes to Editors

Partners of FranceDance UK: 

Ace Dance and Music Birmingham, Belfast International Arts Festival, Birmingham Hippodrome, Brighton Dome, Dance4 Nottingham, Dance International Glasgow, Dance Umbrella, Edinburgh International Festival, In Between Time Festival Bristol, Linbury Theatre, Scottish Dance Theatre, Siobhan Davies Dance, Southbank Centre, The Coronet Theatre, The Lowry

About FranceDance UK
Launched by the Institut français, FranceDance UK is a unique contemporary dance festival running from August - November 2019. 16 leading institutions throughout the UK hosts over 50 performances by 14 young and promising French artists. With a focus on creation and innovation, the festival highlights the diversity and work of female choreographers, many of whom are presenting in the UK for the first time.



About Sadler’s Wells

Sadler’s Wells is a world-leading creative organisation dedicated to dance in all its forms. With over three centuries of theatrical heritage and a year-round programme of performances and learning activities, it is the place where artists come together to create dance, and where people of all backgrounds come to experience it – to take part, learn, experiment and be inspired. 


Its vision is to reflect and respond to the world through dance: enabling artists of all backgrounds to create dance that moves us and opens our minds, and sharing those experiences with the widest possible audiences – to enrich their lives and deepen their understanding of what it means to be human.


Audiences of over half a million come to Sadler’s Wells’ three London theatres each year, with many more enjoying its touring productions at venues across the UK and around the world, and accessing its content through digital channels. Sadler's Wells commissions, produces and presents more dance than any other theatre in the world, embracing the popular and the unknown. Since 2005, it has helped to bring over 170 new dance works to the stage, many of them involving its 16 Associate Artists, three Resident Companies and four Associate Companies – the most exciting talents working in dance today. 


Sadler’s Wells nurtures the next generation of talent through a number of artist development initiatives and reaches over 30,000 annually through its learning and engagement programmes.


Located in Islington, north London, Sadler’s Wells’ current building is the sixth to have stood on site since entrepreneur Richard Sadler first established the theatre 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 having all started at Sadler's Wells.

Sadler’s Wells is to open an additional mid-scale venue in east London in 2022. The new space will be at the heart of the East Bank project, a new cultural and education district in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, which will also include BBC, UAL’s London College of Fashion, UCL and the V&A in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution. As well as a 550-seat auditorium, Sadler’s Wells’ new venue will include a choreographic centre and a hip hop theatre academy, the first of their kind in the world to be run by a theatre.



About Dance Umbrella

Dance Umbrella is London’s international Dance festival. We shine a light on new choreography every October, sharing memorable shows from around the world with audiences across the capital. 


We are committed to taking dance out and bringing audiences in by touring in inner and outer London, broadening definitions of contemporary dance, and developing partnerships with non-dance venues and organisations such as The Big Draw, National Theatre, Battersea Power Station and local councils.


Founded in 1978, Dance Umbrella has reached audiences of well over a million people. Pioneering commissions by world class choreographers have been presented at sites ranging from the Royal Albert Hall and inner city rooftops, to Tate Modern and outer London parks.  Emma Gladstone was appointed Artistic Director & Chief Executive in 2013, and in addition to the festival, Dance Umbrella now runs digital projects, creative learning schemes and professional development programmes throughout the year.  


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