New film celebrates 10 Years of National Youth Dance Company while Oona Doherty is announced as next Guest Artistic Director
Sadler’s Wells has released a film on Digital Stage celebrating the first 10 years of National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) and announces that acclaimed choreographer Oona Doherty will be Guest Artistic Director for 2023/24.
Featuring interviews with all the Guest Artistic Directors including Wayne McGregor, Alessandra Seutin, Akram Khan, and Jasmin Vardimon, the documentary follows the current cohort of dancers as they prepare for the world premiere of Novacene, choreographed by McGregor, at the Lowry in Salford in April 2023. The film is directed by longtime NYDC collaborator Ben Williams.
To date, over 300 young people have been part of NYDC, with over 7000 young people taking part in workshops and projects. Nine out of ten young people who join NYDC go on to some form of work or further training in dance or the performing arts. The company has become known for its diversity, with company members coming from across the country, from different dance styles and backgrounds. Dancers come from across the socioeconomic spectrum with one quarter (24%) coming from the 30% most deprived postcodes nationally.
Many NYDC alumni are currently performing around the world including Robbie Ordoña (NYDC 2017-18) in Kate Prince’s Message In A Bottle, Blue Makwana (NYDC 2015-16) in New Adventures’ Romeo and Juliet and a current Sadler’s Wells Young Associate; Folu Odimayo (2013-14), Fern Grimbley (2013-14), Seirian Griffiths (2017-18), Jahmarley Bachelor (2014-15), Luigi Nardone (2013-14), Sharol Mackenzie (2013) in Punchdrunk’s The Burnt City; Rory Clarke (2020-22) in Far From The Norm’s BLKDOG; Emma Farnell Watson (2013), Zakarius Harry (2016-17) and Oscar Li (2016-17) with Hofesh Shechter Company; Conor Kerrigan (2014-15) and Archie Wood (2016-17) in Rambert’s Peaky Blinders.
Additionally, Oona Doherty has been named Guest Artistic Director for the 2023/24 cohort of NYDC. Doherty was born in 1986 in London and moved to Belfast when she was 10. Doherty’s ground-breaking choreography has earned her multiple awards and prestigious opportunities in Ireland, Europe and beyond. Her solo work Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus (2015) earnt her Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival Best Performer Award in 2016 and won the Total Theatre Dance Award at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017. Her first group piece Hard to Be Soft – A Belfast Prayer was voted no.1 UK dance show of 2019 by The Guardian. Oona Doherty was awarded the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale Danza in 2021.
Hannah Kirkpatrick, Head of National Youth Dance Company, said, “We feel so proud of everything that has happened over this first decade of NYDC. We have been lucky to work with some of the world’s best choreographers and have been given a totally unique insight into their world as they made the company their own…”
Darren Henley CBE, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said, “Happy 10th anniversary to National Youth Dance Company. Over those ten years the team have supported 300 brilliant role models – and isn’t that amazing, if you’re ten years old and you see them and think ‘yes, I could do that’. Because that is what we want to do through our investment, we want to inspire people to be creative – whether that is professionally or personally. And in another ten years, some of those dancers might become directors, producers, or choreographers, while another 300 young people will have followed in their footsteps. What could that group of 600 people achieve and how could their success inspire others – that’s really exciting.”
Founded in 2012, and hosted at Sadler’s Wells, NYDC is an exciting young company that creates and performs innovative and influential dance, drawing together some of the brightest young talent from across the country. To learn more visit sadlerswells.com