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Press Release: Ballet with attitude is Sadler's Wells ballet programme for all

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For immediate release: Wednesday 29 May 
Sadler’s Wells presents Ballet with attitude, a year-round ballet offer with work from all corners of the UK and beyond 


  • Programme includes bold takes on canonical works alongside new productions from groundbreaking choreographers 
  • Ballet with attitude highlights leading companies from across the UK as well as acclaimed international artists 
  • Programme features work made by and for young people and families 
  • Audiences able to enjoy ballet across Sadler’s Wells stages in Angel and the West End and through online platform, Digital Stage
  • Tickets available from £18 for every show in Ballet with attitude programme


Sadler’s Wells year-round Ballet with attitude programme showcases the breadth and variety of ballet that is currently being created.  
This year on Sadler’s Wells Theatre stage, audiences can see some of the most acclaimed choreographers present their own innovative takes on timeless classics from the canon. Carlos Acosta returns with Sadler’s Wells International Associate Company Acosta Danza to present the UK premiere of Carlos Acosta’s Carmen. In this new full-length version, the story’s universal and timeless themes are laid bare in a sparse and powerful setting and Acosta himself takes on the role of the Bull, representing fate and destiny. Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Akram Khan boldly reimagines Giselle, one of the greatest romantic balletsa story of love, betrayal and redemption. This acclaimed production for English National Ballet returns to Sadler’s Wells Stage for the first time in five years. Closing the year with a genre-defining production still best known for replacing the female corps-de-ballet with a menacing male ensemble, Swan Lake by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Matthew Bourne celebrates its 30th anniversary UK tour with an annual eight-week stop at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. 

Ballet with attitude is a programme that offers the possibility to see new work from companies pushing the boundaries of the form. Birmingham Royal Ballet presents Luna, a new work inspired by the pioneering women of Birmingham that explores contemporary universal themes. It is orchestrated by an all-female international creative team, including choreographers Iratxe Ansa (Spain), Wubkje Kuindersma (Netherlands), Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Seeta Patel (UK), Arielle Smith (UK), Thais Suárez (Cuba) and with music composed by Kate Whitley (UK). The National Ballet of Canada presents Frontiers: Choreographers of Canada a triple bill with works by three leading choreographers hailing from Canada. Angels’ Atlas is Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Crystal Pites careful study of humanity’s limitations within a vast, unknowable world. Emma Portner’s piece, islands, is a sculptural duet for two women set to an avant-garde soundscape – including hip hop, dub and electric sampling. James Kudelka’s Passion is a love story set to the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Concerto for Piano where two couples evoke the complexities of passionate relationships through classical and contemporary ballet.


The Peacock Theatre, Sadler’s Wells home in the West End, plays host to two magical stories of friendship for young people and their families. Opening this summer, London Children’s Ballet presents The Secret Garden, inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel, in which Mary Lennox overcomes her fears to unlock the door to happiness and safety. Erico Montes’ choreography is revived by Gemma Pitchley-Gale, the Rehearsal Director on the original 2013 production. Over the festive period, the narrative ballet The Snowman by Birmingham Rep, directed by Bill Alexander with choreography by Robert North, returns to the Peacock Theatre for its 27th year to tell the timeless story of a young boy who ties the strongest friendship with a Snowman who comes alive for one night. 
Much-loved ballet classics are represented in the Ballet with attitude programme, with Northern Ballet sharing its version of the infamous story of star-crossed lovers Romeo & Juliet, one of its most critically acclaimed productions, this May. Birmingham Royal Ballet presents Frederick Ashton’s comical classic La Fille mal gardée, in which spectacular classical ballet and slick comedy spotlight the jolly mire of mother-daughter relationships. And former resident company of Sadler’s Wells, last seen here almost 30 years ago, London City Ballet returns to the Sadler’s Wells Theatre as part of a world tour presenting acclaimed works, including star ballerina Alina Cojocaru in the revival of a Kenneth MacMillan work unseen in Europe for over 50 years.  


Ballet is also available to audiences through Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage with taster dance workshops demystifying the dance form, and the ‘Confessions of a Ballet Star’ series featuring intimate portraits of ballet dancers sharing the highs and lows of a career in dance. The Digital Stage also features school resources, with a dance film based on the stage adaptation of The Little Match Girl, a powerful fable about family, friendship and hope, by director and choreographer Arthur Pita. 
Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Co-Chief Executive, Sir Alistair Spalding CBE said: “We hope that Ballet with attitude breaks down barriers, and that the breadth of work on display shows that it can be a dance form for everyone. Audiences can come to have memorable times in our theatres getting acquainted with classic tales and their modern adaptations, and new works – while our online resources demystify the technique and terminology around ballet altogether.”  

Northern Ballet        ----------------          SADLER’S WELLS THEATRE 
Romeo & Juliet             
Tuesday 28 May – Saturday 1 June  
Tickets from £15 


Adapted by Christopher Gable CBE and Massimo Moricone from Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Romeo & Juliet is one of Northern Ballet’s most beloved and critically acclaimed productions. 


With glorious dancers, eye-catching sets and Prokofiev’s timeless music performed live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia, this is ballet at its most dramatic, romantic and intense.   


Audio Described Performance on Saturday 1 June at 2.30pm with accompanying Touch Tour at 12 pm 


Acosta Danza -------------- -------- ------ -----SADLER’S WELLS THEATRE 

Carlos Acosta’s Carmen                       UK PREMIERE
Tuesday 2 - Saturday 6 July 24
Tickets from £15  


Carlos Acosta performs in his adaptation of Georges Bizet and Prosper Mérimée’s story. In his new version, the story’s universal and timeless themes are laid bare in a sparse and powerful setting. Don José falls in love with Carmen and sacrifices everything to be with her. When Carmen becomes infatuated with the toreador Escamillo she loses interest in Don José, whose love quickly turns to violent jealousy. 
Acosta plays The Bull, a role he created to represent fate and destiny, which he has been keen to perform since choreographing the ballet to mark his retirement from the Royal Ballet in 2015. 
Bizet’s Carmen is one of the most powerful operas ever written. Its gorgeous melodies have secured the opera’s hold on the popular imagination – Escamillo's Toreador Song, Carmen’s Habanera, Don José’s Flower Song and many passages for orchestra and chorus are among the most widely known pieces of Western classical music. Figures as diverse as Marius Petipa, Roland Petit, Alberto Alonso, Mats Ek and Richard Alston have all been drawn to this tale of jealousy and desire.  

London Children’s Ballet                                                  PEACOCK THEATRE 
The Secret Garden 
Thursday 4 July – Sunday 7 July 
Tickets from £18 
Based on the classic children’s story by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this ballet tells the story of young Mary Lennox who journeys to England from India, following her mother’s death, to live with her Uncle. Her curiosity getting the better of her, she reveals the mystery of the Secret Garden and determines to bring it back to life, for the better of the house and her newly discovered cousin Colin.  


Erico Montes' choreography is revived by Gemma Pitchley-Gale, Rehearsal Director on the original 2013 production.  

London City Ballet ------------------------------------- SADLER’S WELLS THEATRE 

Wednesday 11 – Saturday 14 September  

Tickets from £15 

London City Ballet, former resident company of Sadler’s Wells, makes its long-awaited return to the world stage. Last seen almost 30 years ago, the international company of dancers are touring the world in 2024 with a programme of acclaimed works. 


Internationally celebrated ballerina Alina Cojocaru appears as a guest artist in the revival of Kenneth MacMillan’s 1972 one-act ballet Ballade, unseen in Europe for over 50 years. Ashley Page’s Larina Waltz marks the ballet’s 30th anniversary, and Olivier Award-winner Arielle Smith premieres a new work. Eve, a full company work by Christopher Marney, which premiered at Sadler’s Wells in 2022 with Fabula Collective, will close the evening.  


Artistic Director Christopher Marney has spent over a year rebuilding London City Ballet and these comeback performances remember the company’s roots in the form of rarely seen archival footage. 



English National Ballet       --------------------------------SADLER’S WELLS THEATRE 
Akram Khan’s Giselle              
Wednesday 18 – Saturday 28 September 
Tickets from £15 
Following acclaimed performances around the world, Akram Khan’s Giselle returns to Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London for the first time in five years. 


As the curtain rises, dancers in shadow push against a forbidding wall, in a bold reimagining of one of the greatest romantic ballets - a story of love, betrayal and redemption. 


Mark Henderson's atmospheric lighting and Academy Award-winner Tim Yip's towering set conjure up a condemned factory and the ghosts that haunt it. The score by Vincenzo Lamagna is adapted from the original by Adolphe Adam and is performed live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.   

Akram Khan is a Sadler's Wells Associate Artist 
Audio-described performance on Saturday 28 September at 2:30 pm with accompanying Touch Tour at 1 pm 




The National Ballet of Canada                        SADLER’S WELLS THEATRE 

Frontiers: Choreographers of Canada              UK PREMIERE 
Pite/ Kudelka/ Portner             
Wednesday 2 – Sunday 6 October  
Tickets from £15 


The National Ballet of Canada presents a triple bill with works by three leading choreographers hailing from Canada: Crystal Pite, Emma Portner and James Kudelka.    


Crystal Pite created Angels’ Atlas for the company in March 2020. The Dora Award-winning ballet unfolds against a morphing wall of light that carries the illusion of depth and a sense of the natural world. The dancing body becomes a sign of humanity’s limitations within a vast, unknowable world. The ballet is set to original music by Owen Belton and choral pieces by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Morten Lauridsen.   


Emma Portner presents islands, a sculptural duet for two women in which the dancers are joined, fusing their bodies together as one. The work is set to an eclectic compilation of music by contemporary artists as well as original music by Forest Swords, bringing together hip hop, dub, guitar loops and electronic sampling for a rhythmic, avant-garde sound.     


James Kudelka’s Passion is a love story set to the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Concerto for Piano in D, Op. 61a. Two couples each stylistically unique – one classical, the other contemporary – weave within the Corps de Ballet, evoking complex relationships of passion.   


Crystal Pite is a Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist 




Birmingham Royal Ballet     --------------------------SADLER’S WELLS THEATRE 


Tuesday 22 – Wednesday 23 October 
La Fille mal gardée              

Friday 25 – Saturday 26 October 
Tickets from £15 


Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) returns to Sadler’s Wells with new work and a classically comedic ballet. 

Luna is a new piece inspired by the pioneering women of Birmingham that forms the final part of Carlos Acosta’s Birmingham trilogy (City of a Thousand Trades, Black Sabbath). With an all-female, international creative team, including choreographers Iratxe Ansa (Spain), Wubkje Kuindersma (Netherlands), Seeta Patel (UK), Arielle Smith (UK), Thais Suárez (Cuba) and music composed by Kate Whitley (UK), Luna will explore contemporary universal themes. 
BRB will also present Sir Frederick Ashton's celebrated La Fille mal gardée (The Wayward Daughter) which mixes classical ballet with slick comedy. This is the first time La Fille mal gardée has been presented by BRB under the directorship of Carlos Acosta, who, for many, is one of the definitive interpreters of Colas in this sunny, effervescent ballet. 
Audio described performance on Saturday 26 October at 2:30 pm with accompanying Touch Tour at 12 pm 
Birmingham Rep ---------------------------------PEACOCK THEATRE 

The Snowman  
Wednesday 23 November – Saturday 4 January 25 

Tickets from £18 


Winter family favourite The Snowman returns to the Peacock Theatre for its 27th year. A magical stage adaptation of the much-loved picture book by Raymond Briggs and the film directed by Dianne Jackson, The Snowman is the timeless tale of a boy and a snowman who comes to life. 
The Snowman is directed by Bill Alexander and features music and lyrics by Howard Blake, including the song ‘Walking in the Air’, design by Ruari Murchison, lighting by Tim Mitchell, and choreography by Robert North, all of which is accompanied by a live orchestra. 


New Adventures    -------------------------------   SADLER’S WELLS THEATRE 

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake - The Next Generation                                               
Tuesday 3 December 2024 – Sunday 26 January 2025
Tickets from £15  


Matthew Bourne's audacious, rule-breaking reinvention of Tchaikovsky's masterpiece caused a sensation when it premiered almost 30 years ago. Thrilling, bold, witty and emotive, it is still best known for replacing the female corps-de-ballet with a menacing male ensemble, which shattered convention, turning tradition on its head. It has now become the most successful dance theatre production of all time, creating new audiences and inspiring generations of young dancers. In celebration of that ongoing impact, Swan Lake returns in a major new revival. 


First staged at Sadler’s Wells in 1995, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake has been performed across the globe, collecting over 30 international accolades including the Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production and three Tony Awards for Best Director of a Musical, Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.  


Matthew Bourne is a Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist 

Sadler’s Wells                                                                                DIGITAL STAGE   
Confessions of a Ballet Star 
Free to access  

Confessions of a Ballet Star is a series of intimate portraits spotlighting the extreme highs and lows of a career devoted to ballet, uncovering the secrets of dance superstars as told in their own words. Episodes feature extraordinary dancers Tiler Peck, Alina Cojocaru, Carlos Acosta and Natalia Osipova.   
Accessible anytime: Confessions of a Ballet Star - Sadler's Wells Digital Stage 


Sadler’s Wells                                                                                 DIGITAL STAGE  

The Little Match Girl  

Monday 7 October 2024 – Friday 31 January 2025  
Free to access for schools  

Celebrated director and choreographer Arthur Pita’s The Little Match Girl will be released on Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage for schools to access for free, alongside resources tailored to key stage levels 1 and 2 including:   


·         8 lesson plans, including dance, design & technology, history, literacy, art, SMSC and drama    

·         PowerPoint presentations for each lesson    

·         A video dance workshop   

·         4 designed and ready-to-print worksheets    

·         A Teacher’s Fact File and design & technology templates   

A snowy stage sets the scene for an icy cold Christmas eve, where the little match girl paces the emptying streets trying to sell her matches. Along her journey she encounters kindness and cruelty in a fable about family, friendship and hope. The traditional tale is brought to life with music, dance and some unusual instruments. This production is Arthur Pita's stage adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story.  
Schools can access the film and the resource pack by registering here www.sadlerswells.com/TheLittleMatchGirl 



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 more than 200 new dance works to the stage, embracing both the popular and the unknown. Our acclaimed productions tour the world. Since 2005 we’ve produced 64 new full-length works and performed to audiences of more than two million, touring to 51 countries.

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.   


Sadler’s Wells East
In 2024 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 new Rose Choreographic School and the hip hop theatre training centre, Academy Breakin’ Convention.

Sadler’s Wells East joins the rich cultural heritage of Stratford, opening in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as part of the East Bank development alongside the BBC, UAL’s London College of Fashion, UCL and the V&A. Sadler’s Wells East will support artist development and training, and the creation of new work. It will build the infrastructure for dance and make it accessible to more people. Sadler’s Wells East will house a flexible theatre presenting a wide variety of dance performances. Community will be at the heart of Sadler’s Wells East with a large open foyer that can be used by everyone as a meeting or performance space. There will also be dance studios and world-class dance facilities for dancemakers to train, create and rehearse productions.

Supporting artists
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.

Learning and community links
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.    



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