2018/19 Young Associates
Choreographer and dancer Anthony Matsena was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and was raised in Swansea, Wales. He began dancing from a young age, training in hip hop and street dance. He then started contemporary and ballet training aged 19 at Gower College Swansea, where he joined County Youth Dance Company and Turning Pointe Dance Academy Swansea. Anthony has been a company member of National Youth Dance Wales (NYDW), creating and touring works by Kerry Nicholls, Odette Hughes (Studio Wayne McGregor), Theo Clinkard, and Eleesha Drennan. Through NYDW, Anthony performed Kerry Nicholls’ aM (2015) at Sadler’s Wells. Anthony continued his training at London Contemporary Dance School, where he will graduate from in 2018. Whilst training at LCDS, Anthony has performed works by Ohad Naharin, Hofesh Shechter, Richard Alston, as well as performing professionally in works by Joseph Toonga for Just Us Dance Theatre. Anthony is also the co-founder of Matsena Performance Theatre.
Christopher Thomas started professionally acting in London’s West End under directorship of Cameron Mackintosh, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Bill Kenwright. He then danced vocationally at The Royal Ballet School and Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, where he graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) in 2017. During that time, he has performed extensively with Rambert Dance Company performing works by Mark Bladwin, Itzik Galili and worked closely with Didi Veldman and Mark Bruce in his final year. Since graduating Christopher has been involved with multiple film projects working with Nowness, Charlotte Edmonds and has performed with Arielle Smith Company, Mark Bruce Company for Macbeth (2018) and is excited to be returning to the company for a new work premiering early 2020. At the moment Christopher is working with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures on their new production of Romeo and Juliet currently touring nationwide. Christopher is co-director of his own company Retrospect Dance Theatre, which has performed at various European, UK platforms and shown its first full-length work as a live performance piece and feature-length film at Whirled Cinema London. Christopher’s choreographic awards include the Charlotte Kirkpatrick Award 2016, and Young Choreographer 2017 and Summer 2018 joined the Cohan Collective. Since joining Sadler’s Wells as a Young Associate Artist Christopher has created Blood’s Thicker Than Water (2017), The Three Visions (2018) and looks forward to sharing his new work on the main stage.
A proud Bristolian, Ruby Portus grew up acting with Bristol Old Vic Young Company and dancing with National Youth Dance Company under the artistic direction of Akram Khan. After graduating with a First Class BA Hons from London Contemporary Dance School (where she was inspired by working with artists such as Liz Aggiss and Ben Duke), she went on to gain her MA (Distinction) as a dancer with VERVE: Northern School of Contemporary Dance’s postgraduate company. Here, she internationally performed works by Sita Ostheimer, Lenka Vagnerová, Hannes Langolf and Matthew Robinson and undertook practice-based research asking how gender affects our use of space.
Ruby is now working as a freelance dancer and choreographer, performing in a variety of projects across the UK and keenly developing her choreographic voice. Her dance theatre work strives to tackle important sociopolitical issues in a playful way, and has been seen at Tate Modern, The Place and here at Sadler’s Wells.
Born in Finland and raised in Santiago, Chile, Wilhelmina Ojanen began her professional studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. There she completed both her BA in Contemporary Dance and her Master’s Degree in Dance Performance; graduating with a Distinction from her MA research project “A return to vulnerability”. During her BA training at Laban, Wilhelmina had the privilege of working with choreographers such as Ben Wright, Sara Wookey and Stephanie Schober, as well as the makers of Reykjavik Dance Festival. As part of Transitions Dance Company, Wilhelmina performed internationally in works by Hagit Yakira, Richard Chappell and Jarkko Partanen, and she has continued to work with choreographer Hagit Yakira since 2015. Wilhelmina is currently mentored by acclaimed choreographer Theo Clinkard.
Beside performing and teaching, Wilhelmina’s passion lies in creating her own choreographic work. As a choreographer, Wilhelmina has recently made work for Sadler’s Wells Lilian Baylis Studio, The Place Theatre and the Laban Theatre. Wilhelmina’s choreographic work delves into realities of human connection; studying poetically, through movement, our relations to one another and the world around us. She explores the intersection of physicality and poetry, of softness and strength, and of memory and embodiment.