Hard-hitting new work TRAPLORD heads spring season ablaze with international dance talent and UK favourites
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Sadler’s Wells spearheads its spring 2022 season with a powerful offsite work about Black male identity. TRAPLORD, by London artist Ivan Michael Blackstock, is an immersive dance performance produced by Sadler’s Wells and 180 Studios. TRAPLORD uses dance, theatre and spoken word to question the stereotyping of Black men in contemporary western society.
International dance is back in strength, despite the pandemic. The renowned Sadler’s Wells International Associate Company Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch returns with Kontakthof in its 40th anniversary year. Pina Bausch’s seminal work evokes longing and misguided desires, brought to life by a group of mature dancers, playing out uncertain romance. A prestige season, Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels, showcases some of Europe’s leading choreographers, including Ballet de Lyon and Sadler’s Wells Production Neighbours. There are also performances by Sadler’s Wells International Associate Company Acosta Danza, and NDT2, featuring UK premieres.
At the other end of the age spectrum, a multi-sensory show for babies, Underwater by Xenia Aidonopoulou & Georgia Tegou, forms part of the Easter Family Weekend, along with Sadler’s Wells National Partner Company balletLORENT’s The Lost Happy Endings.
Diverse and distinguished British artists include BalletBoyz, with bold work in Deluxe; Sadler’s Wells Associate Company English National Ballet honours master choreographer William Forsythe in a special programme celebrating his enduring love and curiosity for ballet; and Sadler’s Wells National Partner Company Phoenix Dance Theatre celebrates its 40th anniversary with a showcase programme.
Sadler’s Wells Production The Rite of Spring/ common ground[s], a powerful two-part programme marking the first collaboration between the Pina Bausch Foundation, École des Sables and Sadler’s Wells, receives its UK premiere in June.
The Rite of Spring is danced by a newly assembled company of dancers from African countries in a visceral staging of Pina Bausch’s 1975 work. common ground[s] is a new work created, performed and inspired by the lives of Germaine Acogny, ‘the mother of contemporary African dance’ and founder of École des Sables, and Malou Airaudo, who performed leading roles in many of Bausch’s early works.
In the Lilian Baylis Studio, choreographer Jonathan Burrows and composer Matteo Fargion present a double bill, Rewriting/ Science Fiction, exploring their love of dance and music; while Livia Rita curates a Wild Card evening that invites audiences to experience spells and superpowers, culminating in a rave.
Street dance is a key theme at Peacock Theatre this season. ISH Dance Collective presents Elements of Freestyle, which sees extreme urban sports including BMX and freerunning combine with dance, music and theatre in an adrenaline-fuelled spectacle. The show features a company of stars, many of whom were first ‘discovered’ as street champions. Acclaimed Canadian circus company Machine de Cirque presents a show in which six men find themselves all alone in the world; their quest is to contact other survivors with the help of a strange machine
Wild Tango by Argentine Tango Champion German Cornejo explores the origins of the dance from the streets of Argentina through electrifying new work. The cast includes several world tango champions, who give an explosive performance by mixing tango, contemporary dance, urban, malambo, and circus elements. This is the first time a large-scale international production about tango is performed mainly by male dancers, exploring this traditional dance from another perspective.
The street dance theme continues at Sadler’s Wells with the return of Breakin’ Convention International Festival of Hip Hop Dance Theatre, with cutting-edge dance rooted in the streets. Breakin’ Convention is part of Well Seasoned, Sadler’s Wells’s celebration of work by Black artists.
Also in Well Seasoned and on sale later this month are Matsena Productions/ House of Absolute with double-bill Shades of Blue / Warrior Queens; Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate L’atisse Rhoden with a night of new digital works; and Impact Dance with a programme celebrating the company’s 26th year.
Well Seasoned was designed by Sadler’s Wells’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding and Artistic Director of Breakin’ Convention Jonzi D, to platform work by both UK-based and international Black dancemakers.
Over the summer, Sadler’s Wells welcomes Chichester Festival Theatre’s acclaimed production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s much-loved musical South Pacific.