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In conversation with…

NYDC - Speak Volumes

Well Seasoned was designed by Sadler’s Wells’ 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.

Well Seasoned Digital Stage will feature exclusive commissions and world premieres celebrating and profiling Black dance, in an exciting online programme.

We speak to Director of Digital / Head of Producing & Touring, Bia Oliveira and Director of Breakin’ Convention, Michelle Norton about what our audiences can expect to see from the Well Seasoned Digital Stage programme, which part of the programme they’re excited about the most and what Well Seasoned means to them.

National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) Speak Volumes trailer. Full film available 9 May on Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage.

What can people expect to see from the Well Seasoned Digital Stage programme?

Bia: First I have to say we’re really pleased to be offering such a rich and varied programme on our Digital Stage!

To kick off the Well Seasoned programme, we will be premiering the National Youth Dance Company’s new film Speak Volumes by Ben Williams, based on the piece Alesandra Seutin created for NYDC last year.

Next is Guests Selects which will feature six prominent professionals working with dance. They will each select five of their favourite digital dance works, which we’ll share with our audiences.

Following Guest Selects, we have six short international films; including four premieres. Three dance works for camera and three short documentaries.

Our short film commissions will feature new films by UK artists, including Jonzi D; Artistic Director of Breakin’ Convention and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist, L’Atisse Rhoden who will be in the Lilian Baylis Studio with L Casa in May and Ivan Michael Blackstock whose production TRAPLORD premiered this month, produced by Sadler’s Wells and 180 Studios. Artists also include Akeim Toussaint Buck, House of Absolute who will be performing Warrior Queen on Sadler’s Wells stage in May, Alethia Antonia and Fubunation. All these artists alongside many more will be featured with work made for camera, most of them premieres.

Finally, our series of six podcasts led by Brenda Emmanus will bring the greatest of UK culture professionals to discuss dance, theatre, TV & film, music, visual arts and fashion.

Michelle: People can expect to see great digital work featuring Black artists and Black culture. There will be an offer of exciting work from artists or work that is deep routed in Black culture, as well as brand-new commissions, Guest Selects and a Podcast series, featuring artists that we have long-standing relationships with, as well as the opportunity to build new artistic relationships.

Which part of the programme are you most excited about and why?

Bia: There is so much, and I must say I’m excited about everything, but the film commissions are special, in that we are supporting artists to explore and create in the digital realm.

Michelle: I am excited about the whole programme as we have worked with exciting artists over the years, but I am very intrigued to see what the newly commissioned films will present. The conversations we have had with Jonzi D, Ivan Michael Blackstock, L’Atisse Rhoden, House of Absolute and Akiem Toussaint, has us very excited and it feels great to be supporting Black artists and the culture in this way. I am also looking forward to the Podcast series that will be led by Brenda Emmanus, the topics are going to be tasty.

What does Well Seasoned mean to you?

Bia: Well Seasoned is our way of highlighting and celebrating work by Black artists who are already on our live stages this year. What Well Seasoned has given us as a great addition, is the possibility of creating this incredible programme of digital work with Breakin’ Convention. Jonzi D and Michelle Norton have been instrumental in bringing together this amazing digital programme, and we can’t wait to share it with our audiences.

Patience J

Michelle: Flava! The spectrum of Black artistry is so broad and multifaceted, and this is evident in just hip hop alone, with many genres of dance styles and how they are always developing and changing. Well Seasoned is not just about dance, and we are hoping that people will get an insight into Black culture, from the food in the building, artwork, fashion, film and so much more. For some people it will reinforce things, and others may learn something new, for example, which of your favourite contemporary choreographers use hip hop dance in their work or what inspires some of your favourite hip hop choreographers? Black culture & people have enriched all parts of what is considered Western culture, and we have not always been credited for what we have brought to the table. We are hopefully continuing to address that balance little by little. Well Seasoned is a statement of intent by Sadler’s Wells as a commitment to Black artists and Black dance and this is continuously represented in the programming.


Wells Seasoned - celebrating black dance