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Press Release: Sadler’s Wells announces a new cohort of Young Associates for 2020-2021

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Sadler’s Wells announces a new cohort of Young Associates for 2020-2021 


Sadler’s Wells today announces the names of four young choreographers as part of the second intake of the Young Associates programme for young choreographers aged 18-24 years. Olive Hardy, Vidya Patel, John-William Watson and Magnus Westwell will be supported by Sadler’s Wells for two years.  

The Young Associates programme supports Sadler’s Wells mission to nurture the next generation of talent. It was launched in February 2018 and supports early career choreographers, deepening their understanding of their own artistic practice, whilst gaining valuable insight into dance production. The initiative provides a crucial first step into their career as choreographers. The artists receive a tailored programme of professional development and support, including the opportunity to present their work as part of the Sadler’s Wells artistic programme. 

London born and Bristol raised, Olive Hardy started dancing for Rise Youth Dance and performed with the company for most of her young adulthood, under the direction of Helen Wilson. Her training began at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and she graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in 2019. She performed in works made by celebrated choreographers Samir Kennedy, Leila McMillan, Rick Nodine and Seke Chimutengwende. Olive enjoys working with people who dance because they are fascinating, often brilliant, smart and kind. She makes dance with these people, and hopes that when others watch, this resonates and that something is felt.

Vidya Patel is a Birmingham based Dance Artist with training background in Kathak learning from Guru Sujata Banerjee. After graduating from the South Asian Strand at Centre of Advanced Training Dance programme, Vidya represented the South Asian Category in the Grand Finals of the inaugural BBC Young Dancer 2015 at Sadler’s Wells. She has since performed in international touring works created by critically acclaimed artists Sir Richard Alston, Gary Clarke, Thick & Tight and Akademi, as well as collaborating with artists including Shammi Pithia and Connor Scott, with commissions by Sampad Arts. She is currently an Associate Artist at Déda and a member of Aakash Odedra 2. Whilst continuing her Indian classical dance training she hopes to continue to collaborate with the wider dance industry and continue to develop her own choreographic and individual practice.

Born in Leeds, John-William Watson began his training at Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Youth Academy and CAPA College. During this time he was also a member of the National Youth Dance Company for two years; under the artistic direction of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Michael Keegan-Dolan. He then moved Belgium to study at The Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, where he was the Wild Card contemporary finalist in the BBC Young Dancer 2017 competition. Since graduating in 2019, John-William has been working as a freelance dancer and maker in Belgium. Now, back in the UK, he is following his own creative path within the world of absurd and often comedic dance theatre.

Scottish-born interdisciplinary artist, Magnus Westwell, is a graduate of The Dance School of Scotland and Rambert School, where he was the recipient of a scholarship from the Veronica Bruce Memorial Trust, administered by Scottish Ballet. He has choreographed and produced work which has been performed at venues across Europe - his most recent commissions have been shown at ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event), The Lowry, The Silver Building, King's College Chapel and on BBC4. Magnus is currently the resident choreographer with multi-media collective, ‘SYNTREX’, which works at the intersection between experimental music, movement, and visual art. Alongside playing live violin with artists such as ‘illyr’ and ‘Malthus’, Magnus also creates and mixes his own music, drawing inspiration from his background in traditional Scottish and left-field electronic music.

Sadler’s Wells is delighted to announce this new group of Young Associates following the success of the work of the previous cohort. Anthony Matsena, Wilhelmina Ojanen, Ruby Portus and Christopher Thomas’ work was presented on stage in the Lilian Baylis Studio in October 2018, and on the Sadler’s Wells main stage in July 2019. All continue to work on exciting upcoming projects, adding their talents to a new artistic generation.



About Sadler’s Wells
Sadler’s Wells is a world-leading creative organisation dedicated to dance in all its forms. With a rich theatrical heritage of over three centuries, it offers a year-round programme of performances and learning activities. Our mission is to make and share dance that inspires us all. Our vision is to create, through dance, a depth of connection beyond borders, cultures and languages, so we see ourselves in each other. 


Audiences of over half a million come to Sadler’s Wells’ three London theatres each year, with many more enjoying our touring productions at venues across the UK and around the world and accessing our 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, we have helped to bring over 170 new dance works to the stage, many of them involving our 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 range of artist development initiatives and reaches over 30,000 annually through our 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, our 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.


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