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Press Release: Young Associates / Ben Duke To Start With Wednesday 26 October


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Young Associates / Ben Duke
To Start With

Sadler’s Wells Theatre, EC1R 4TN
Wednesday 26 October  
Tickets: £15 

Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com

324e25e2850864c4f0b7994a34fe4cc943fd0179.pngIn November 2021, the second cohort of the Sadler’s Wells Young Associates introduced their refreshing voices at sell-out performances in the Lilian Baylis Studio. The next step of their journey sees John-William Watson, Magnus Westwell, Olive Hardy and Vidya Patel take to the Sadler’s Wells stage with the World Premiere of To Start With on Wednesday 26 October. Under the artistic guidance of Ben Duke, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Lost Dog, the young choreographers will be presenting an ambitious evening of new works.

Ben Duke is an experienced choreographer and creative. He has created work for many acclaimed dance companies including Candoco, Rambert, Scottish Dance Theatre, Dance Umbrella, Phoenix Dance Theatre and Barely Methodical Troupe.  

Throughout the creation process Ben has encouraged the Young Associates to communicate with each other and share their experiences. They have collaborated with a team of young creatives from a range of art-forms, giving a platform to a new generation of artistic voices. 

Each Young Associate brings a unique voice to the work. 

John-William Watson is a dance theatre maker from Leeds. Drawing influence from Surrealism, John’s work focuses on the tragi-comedic, their work explores narratives that deal with the relationship between existentialism, the comedy of the mundane, nostalgia and time.

Magnus Westwell is a Scottish Artist who works with choreography and music composition. Their creations can be raw, romantic and haunting, often looking at the extremes of ecstasy and emptiness. 

Olive Hardy was born in London and raised in Bristol. She graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in 2019. Olive’s approach focuses on a collective agency with her collaborators; through improvisation they find a movement language innate to the performers. 

Born, raised and living in Birmingham as the first-generation of an immigrant British Gujarati household, Vidya Patel began training in Indian classical dance from a young age. Vidya’s work focuses on autobiographical narratives by drawing on themes of identity, belonging and empowerment. In 2015, Vidya represented the South Asian Category in the Grand Finals of the inaugural BBC Young Dancer 2015 at Sadler’s Wells. 

The Young Associates programme supports talented 18-24-year-olds and 18-30 for d/Deaf and disabled choreographers, providing a crucial first step into their career as choreographers.

Artistic Guide, Ben Duke said, “It is a pleasure to work with the four Young Associates. Their work is so different in style, and it shows that the idea of choreography and what it means to be described as a choreographer is an expanding field. It is also amazing to see how the conversations around the wellbeing of the dancers is central to all their processes and how this demonstrates real progress in how we prioritise the wellbeing of freelance artists.    
My role has been to oversee the evening and to suggest subtle connections between the works, but most importantly my role is to be there if I’m needed and to stand back when I’m not. They are an inspiring group of artists who need the space and opportunity to do their thing and that is what this evening is about.”   


Projects Producer, Learning and Engagement, Lucy Clarke-Bishop said, “Sadler’s Wells is delighted to be able to offer this platform and programme to these four exceptionally talented artists. The Young Associates programme aims to invest in and support new voices and we believe that these choreographers are important new voices in dance.
We are also excited to offer the Young Associates a chance to benefit from Ben Duke’s excellent artistic guidance and talent for To Start With. He has provided them with care and support, and has been an important part of the artistic process. Ben’s knowledge and experience is an invaluable resource as the Young Associates take to the Sadler’s Wells stage.


ENDS

Image credit: Camilla Greenwell
Young Associates from left to right: Olive Hardy, John-William Watson, Vidya Patel & Magnus Westwell

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

Listings Information
Young Associates / Ben Duke   
To Start With                 
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, EC1R 4TN
Wednesday 26 October  
Tickets: £15
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com

 

About Sadler’s Wells
Sadler's Wells is a world-leading dance organisation. We strive to make and share dance that inspires us all. Our acclaimed year-round programme spans dance of every kind, from contemporary to flamenco, Bollywood to ballet, salsa to street dance and tango to tap.

We commission, produce and present more dance than any other organisation in the world. Since 2005, we have helped to bring close to 200 new dance works to the stage, embracing both the popular and the unknown.

 

Each year, over half a million people visit our three London theatres - Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Lilian Baylis Studio and Peacock Theatre. Millions more attend our touring productions nationally and internationally or explore our digital platforms, including Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage. In 2023 we’re opening a fourth London venue in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Sadler’s Wells East will house a 550-seat mid-scale theatre, as well as facilities for the Choreographic School and Hip Hop Theatre Academy. 

 

Supporting artists is at the heart of our work. We have associate artists and companies, which nurture some of the most exciting talent working in dance today. We host the National Youth Dance Company, which draws together some of the brightest young dancers from across the country. Sadler’s Wells Breakin' Convention runs professional development programmes to champion and develop the world’s best hip hop artists, as well as producing, programming and touring groundbreaking hip hop performances. 

 

Around 30,000 people take part in our learning and engagement programmes every year. We support schools local to our theatres in Islington and Stratford, designing experiences for children and young people to watch, explore and critically engage with the arts. We also run Company of Elders, a resident performance company of dancers aged over 60 who rehearse with renowned artists to make new work for public performances locally, nationally and internationally.

 

Sadler’s Wells is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. 

www.sadlerswells.com

 

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About John-William Watson 
John-William Watson is a dance theatre maker from Leeds, a Northern Connection Artist 2021/22 and alumni of The Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp. Drawing influence from Surrealism, Watson’s work abstracts and plays with every-day, utilitarian and pedestrian movement. With a focus on the tragi-comedic, their work explores narratives that deal with the relationship between existentialism, the comedy of the mundane, nostalgia and time. 

As an artist that emerged from the pandemic their work has been hued significantly by a surrealist ethos - that existential themes can lie beside the everyday and the mundane not only beautifully and humorously but purposefully. As a result, their work aims to tell the stories around us in the way they are actually presented to us daily, often without sense, or reason.


About Magnus Westwell 
Magnus Westwell is a Scottish Artist who works with choreography and music composition.

Magnus’ creations can be raw, romantic and haunting, often looking at the extremes of ecstasy and emptiness. Their work has been performed across the UK and Europe in theatre, club, gallery and festival contexts, and featured online via Nowness, FACT, MTV and NME.

 

Magnus has choreographed and directed movement for Marcelino Sambé and Dua Lipa, as well as collaborating with artists including Agnes? and Machine Woman. They have performed live sets at Cafe OTO and FOLD, manipulating live violin samples and experimenting with how orchestral textures can exist within electronic music.

Magnus co-produces and curates Lazarus, a club night which platforms queer artists and DJs in late-night events across London.


About Olive Hardy 
London born and Bristol raised, Olive Hardy started dancing for Rise Youth Dance and performed with the company for most of her youth, 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 has worked and performed with choreographers and artists such as Samir Kennedy, Leila McMillan, Will Pegna, Seke Chimutengwende and Wilkie Branson. Her approach focuses on a collective agency between the meetings of the people she works with. Through improvisation they find a movement language innate to the individuals performing the work. They form together and gain clarity together, allowing for an exchange of generous ideas.


About Vidya Patel
Vidya Patel is a dance artist, choreographer, performer, movement director and collaborator, working with contemporary dance and Indian classical dance. Kathak is her main form of classical dance training, and she has adopted influences from other dance languages. Vidya’s work focuses on autobiographical narratives by drawing on themes of identity, belonging and empowerment.

 

Born, raised and living in Birmingham as the first-generation of an immigrant British Gujarati household - Vidya began training in Indian classical dance from a young age and continued her training through the Centre of Advanced DanceXchange continued by guru Sujata Banerjee, research through Developing Your Creative Practise grant, and currently part of the Pagrav Oxygen development programme and various teachers.

In 2015, Vidya represented the South Asian Category in the Grand Finals of the inaugural BBC Young Dancer 2015 at Sadler’s Wells. Since then, she has paved a career in the dance industry. Vidya’s choreographic work has been on the stages of Royal Opera House, Sadler’s Wells, Trinity Laban and across the UK. Vidya has performed in international touring and national works created by critically acclaimed artists. 

 

Vidya’s approach focuses on collaboration. Vidya first co-collaborated with Connor Scott and composer Shammi Pithia creating a full-length work “About the Elephant” which premiered in India and the UK including Southbank’s Purcell Room for Alchemy Festival. Vidya most recently collaborated with writer/ poet Zia Ahmed and composer Sarathy Korwar for BBC Dance Passions 2021 at Sadler’s Wells. Most recently, she was a Creative Collaborator with LYNNEBEC company for the Athlete Welcome Ceremonies for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022.

 

During the pandemic Vidya developed a community network, “South Asian Dance Artists UK” and whilst a Young Associate at Sadlers Wells, she has initiated the formation of Sadler’s Wells South Asian Taskforce.


About Ben Duke 
Lost Dog Artistic Director Ben Duke trained at Guildford School of Acting, the London Contemporary Dance School and has a first-class degree in English Literature from Newcastle University. His work is an attempt to reconcile those three subjects. In 1997 Ben saw Alain Platel’s show Bernadetje at the Newcastle Playhouse and has been trying to re-create the feeling of confusion and joy he had while watching that piece in his own artistic practice.

Ben recently created The Argonauts in collaboration with Candoco and the British Council, and Cerberus and Goat for Rambert, the latter of which he was nominated for an Olivier Award. He has also created work for Scottish Dance Theatre(The Life and Times of Girl A), Dance Umbrella(The Difference Engine), Phoenix Dance Theatre(Pave up Paradise), the contemporary circus company Barely Methodical Troupe(Kin), HI Fliers(There were definitely swans)and in 2018 he collaborated with composer Orlando Gough to create a dance theatre piece for stroke survivors with Rosetta Life(Stroke Odyssey).

He has choreographed for theatre projects by The National Theatre of Scotland(Dolls), the Gate Theatre, London(Sexual Neuroses of our Parents)and Handspring UK(CROW).As a performer he has worked at the Gate Theatre(I am Falling), The National Theatre of Scotland(Dolls), and with Probe(May)and Punchdrunk (Faust).

Ben is an Affiliate Artist at The Place.



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