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Press Release: Sadler's Wells - National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) - World Premiere of The Rashomon Effect and Vertical Road by Akram Khan

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National Youth Dance Company (NYDC)
The Rashomon Effect / Vertical Road
Wednesday 16 April 2014, Sadler’s Wells & touring
Performance at 7.30pm
Under 5s admitted
Tickets: £10, £5 conc
Ticket Office: 0844 844 4300 www.sadlerswells.com


Now in its second year, the National Youth Dance Company returns to Sadler’s Wells’ main stage on Wednesday 16 April to perform a new double bill by pre-eminent choreographer Akram Khan. The performance will be followed by a UK tour, including Nottingham and Glasgow, with further details to be announced.


The evening, which follows NYDC’s sell-out debut performance and national tour last year, features the world premiere of The Rashomon Effect, directed by Khan and choreographed by Andrej Petrovic. It also contains a restaged excerpt from Khan’s critically acclaimed Vertical Road (Akram Khan Company, 2010).


The Rashomon Effect will be performed by the 30 Company members who joined NYDC in September 2013; comprising dancers aged 16 - 19 from Bristol to Newcastle, Cambridge to Liverpool. It features a newly commissioned score by composer and Hofesh Shechter Company band member Vincenzo Lamagna which will be performed live by nine musicians aged 15 - 20 from the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.


The re-worked Vertical Road will be performed by the 13 existing Company members from NYDC’s inaugural year. To date, the young members of NYDC have been chosen from a total of 27 experience workshops that, combined, saw over 500 young people take part. The chosen members come from over 20 towns, cities and villages across England.


Akram Khan is one of the most celebrated and respected dance artists working today. In just over a decade he has created a body of work that has contributed significantly to the arts in the UK and abroad. His reputation has been built on the success of imaginative, highly accessible and relevant productions such as DESH, iTMOi, Gnosis and zero degrees and his choreography was seen by millions worldwide when it featured prominently to unanimous acclaim in the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.


Khan’s role as Guest Artistic Director of NYDC for 2014, marks the first time he has worked with young, non-professional dancers and sees him bring a wealth of experience to his pivotal role in working with this vibrant company.


Akram Khan says of his experience to date, “I am learning so much from this talented group of dancers. What is exciting to me is the immense possibility we have to nurture and develop with them a personal movement vocabulary that is drawn directly from their bodies. With the high standards demanded of these young dancers, I feel this opportunity will allow them to grow further in their own development as an artist, and will hopefully give them the confidence to question the dance that they perform in the future.”


Alistair Spalding (CBE), Chief Executive & Artistic Director at Sadler’s Wells says “The future strength of the whole dance industry depends on there being a pipeline of new talent coming forward. The NYDC is one way in which Sadler’s Wells can offer a unique opportunity for young people right across the country to work with the best of the UK’s choreographers and give them an experience that will help them on their way to a career in dance.”


Cate Canniffe, Director Dance, Arts Council England says “The NYDC’s work with Akram Khan as Guest Artistic Director is a wonderful example of how nurturing talent and enabling access to this kind of inspirational experience is at the heart of what the Arts Council does.  It is a vital part of connecting established artists with a future generation of emerging artists.”

National Youth Dance Company is funded jointly by Arts Council England and the Department for Education, from the National Lottery and Grant in Aid funds.



Notes to Editors

About National Youth Dance Company (NYDC)
Founded in 2012 and hosted at Sadler’s Wells, the National Youth Dance Company aims to create and perform innovative and influential youth dance, drawing together some of the brightest young talent from across the country. NYDC provides a bespoke programme to support the physical, artistic and personal development of talented young dancers at a critical age. It seeks to develop confident, versatile, creative dancers who are capable of thinking independently, are open to new ideas, can work to a professional standard and can push the boundaries for youth dance. Each year, 30 dancers aged 16 - 19 are selected from across England to form a new cohort within the Company and can stay with NYDC for up to three years.


One of Sadler’s Wells’ internationally renowned Associate Artists or visiting company directors is appointed Guest Artistic Director for each cohort, giving the members the opportunity to learn, create, rehearse and perform new and existing work for the theatre’s main stage and a UK tour. They draw on a number of dance techniques including contemporary, hip hop, ballet and South Asian dance.  The Company meets in school holidays to participate in four intensive weeks per year at Sadler’s Wells and regional venues.


Over June and July 2013 NYDC took part in nine performances seen by over 5,000 people in a range of venues, from large scale theatres to site specific outdoor stages, in locations stretching from London to Leeds, Bristol to Kent.


2013 NYDC Members

Ruby Portus                              17        Bristol
Brima Fullah                              17        Cambridge
Georgina Frampton                    16         Cambridge
Jenna Unwin                              18        Cambridge
Daniel Longhurst                        17        Derby
Ryan Taylor                               17        Durham
Reynaldo Santas Jr.                   18        Essex
Matthew Hall                             17         Luton
Heather Birley                            17        Leicester
Jamillah Moore                          19         Liverpool
Elyas Addo                               18         London
Akua Amankona                        18         London
Tyrrell Foreshaw                        16         London
Riley Hogg                                17         London
Anoushka Jago                          16        London
Bun Kobayashi                          18        London           
Jordan McGowan                       18        Newcastle
Hannah Mattinson                      17        North Yorkshire
Ruben Brown                             17        Northampton
Luigi Nardone                            15        Northampton
Arran Green                               18        Northumberland
Josh Attwood                             16        Nottingham
Conor Fortune                            18        Sandgate
Reece Calver                             17        Suffolk
Shakira Holder                           18        Suffolk
Jack Parry                                 16        Suffolk
Meshach Henry                         17        Surrey
Folu Odimayo                            17        Surrey
Caleb Peters                             17        Worcester
Harry Brooks                             16        Yorkshire


2012 NYDC Members
Lewis Cooke                              17        Berkshire
Edd Arnold                                18        Bristol
Evie Hart                                   19        Cambridgeshire
Ruben Woodall                          18        Coventry
Murielle Werthauer                     17        Hampshire
Sasha Phillips                           20        Kent
James Olivio                              18        London
Jefferson Chanatasig                  21        London
Mariella Fortune-Ely                   18        London
Evonnee Bentley-Holder              18        Reading
Louis Herbu                               17        Surrey
Shaquia Lee                              19        Wakefield
Fern Grimbley                            17        Yorkshire


About Akram Khan
Akram Khan is one of the most celebrated and respected dance artists today. In just over a decade he has created a body of work that has contributed significantly to the cultural arts in the UK and abroad. His reputation has been built on the success of imaginative, highly accessible and relevant productions such as DESH, iTMOi, Vertical Road, Gnosis and zero degrees.

An instinctive and natural collaborator, Khan has been a magnet to world-class artists from other cultures and disciplines. His previous collaborators include the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, choreographer/dancer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, singer Kylie Minogue, visual artists Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Tim Yip, writer Hanif Kureishi and composers Steve Reich, Nitin Sawhney, Jocelyn Pook and Ben Frost.
Khan’s work is recognised as being profoundly moving, in which his intelligently crafted storytelling is effortlessly intimate and epic. Described by the Financial Times as an artist "who speaks tremendously of tremendous things", a recent highlight of his career was the creation of a section of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony that was received with unanimous acclaim.
Khan has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career including the Laurence Olivier Award, the prestigious ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) Distinguished Artist Award, the South Bank Sky Arts Award and five Critics' Circle National Dance Awards. Khan was awarded an MBE for services to dance in 2005. He is also an Honorary Graduate of Roehampton and De Montfort Universities, and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban.
Khan is an Associate Artist of MC2: Grenoble and Sadler’s We
lls, London in a special international co-operation.


About National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain
National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYO) was established in 1948 by the late Dame Ruth Railton as a national platform to champion the development of British teenagers and the future of the orchestra. Today, under the leadership of Sarah Alexander, the Orchestra continues to bring together talented young musicians from across Great Britain to create extraordinary performances that reinvigorate the orchestral repertoire.

NYO’s repertoire embraces the old and the very new. The Orchestra performs in the country’s most prestigious music halls from Barbican Hall to Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, including an annual appearance at the BBC Proms held at The Royal Albert Hall, with a live audience of 6,000 and over one million radio listeners.


Each year, NYO starts afresh, recruiting 165 of Britain’s best teenage musicians aged between 13 and 19 years through a rigorous and inclusive free audition process focused on talent and ambition for greatness, rather than individuals’ backgrounds. Some of the world’s finest musicians are former NYO graduates, including Sir Simon Rattle, Principal Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; Daniel Harding, Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, as well as composer and former BBC Young Musician of the Year, Mark Simpson. NYO also counts Judith Weir and Thomas Adès – two of the UK’s most celebrated contemporary composers – as alumni.  

NYO musicians go on to join some of Britain’s most prestigious orchestras. Over one fifth of the 90 musicians that make up the London Symphony Orchestra are NYO graduates. The Philharmonia counts 13 NYO alumni amongst its score, whilst the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra boast 12 and 9 former NYO members respectively.

The Orchestra will next perform a series of Spring concerts on 17 April at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, 18 April at The Sage, Gateshead and 19 April at the Royal Festival Hall, London. The repertoire includes Thomas Adès’ Asyla and Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben and tells two powerful stories about standing out from the crowd and getting lost in it. The first piece journeys from desolation to the dazzling ecstasy and excitement of the 90s techno scene, while the second is full of heroic swagger and brooding emotion.


About Arts Council England
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. ACE support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

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