Sadler’s Wells announces the next cohort of National Youth Dance Company and National Tour of Oona Doherty’s Wall

Sadler’s Wells announces the next cohort of National Youth Dance Company and National Tour of Oona Doherty’s Wall

National Youth Dance Company (NYDC), England’s flagship company for young dancers which is run by Sadler’s Wells, has selected the intake for its 2023/24 cohort.

With 32 dancers, aged between 16 and 24 years old, and hailing from 21 towns, cities and villages across England, from Winchester to Durham, Penzance to Folkestone, it’s a truly nationwide company. These young dancers join Guest Artistic Director Oona Doherty to work on brand new work Wall, which premieres at Leeds Playhouse on Saturday 13 April, before touring the country.

If you spoke to Britain what would it say? Wall asks a group of young people from around England to say what they think – the good, the bad, and the ugly. The old and new… Oona Doherty creates a new work in which the dancers keep getting up and keep showing us their real strength and beauty, in a repetitive movement of resistance, stamina, and will. Their greatness in Britain.

Wall features music by Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Leckey, lighting design by founding member of Malaprop Theatre John Gunning, and costume design is by Ryan Dawson Laight who has worked extensively in theatre and dance. Award-winning photographer and video maker Luca Truffarelli is the audio, photo and video collaborator. NYDC alumni Nya Bardouille is Assistant to the choreographer.

Wall premieres on Saturday13 April at Leeds Playhouse, before touring to Wakefield, Falmouth, Ipswich, Latitude Festival, Leicester and London, including a performance at Sadler’s Wells Theatre on Saturday 13 July.

The 32 dancers of National Youth Dance Company’s new cohort for 2023/24 are:

Aleesha Moyo (Leeds), Anya Rakshit (Derby), Aoibh Ryan (Manchester), Ayuna Berbidaeva (London), Charly Knights (Leamington Spa), Daisy Bilsland (Ashford), Ernie Shorten (Somerset), Francis    Henry (Leeds), Frank Thorpe (Sheffield), Fue Akama (Huddersfield), Georgia Coulson (Penzance), Gilbert Dicks (Cambridge), James Airey (Chesterfield), Kitty Newton (Haslemere), Lina Kasasa (London), Luis Green (Folkestone), Luke James (Birmingham), Maisie Lincoln (Ipswich), Matthew Atkinson (Durham), Meeri Niva (London), Megan Chaytor Wilson (Durham), Megan Georges (London), Monét Brooks (London), Morgan Heimsoth (Newbury), Otis De Ville Morel (Okehampton), Phoebe Mufushwa (Winchester), Rosa Boadle-Soumah (Leeds), Roselynn Gumbo (Manchester), Rowan  Williams (Somerset), Ruben Morais (Devon), Venus Shury (London), Wray Maxwell-Mulligan (Manchester).

Covering all regions across the country, 13 workshops took place between April- July 2023 to select the new members for the 2023/24 intake. All dancers are aged 16-24 and come from a range of different dance backgrounds.

During the dancers’ time with NYDC, they are offered a unique insight into the dance profession, living and working closely together as a company, alongside NYDC staff and the artistic team. The year-long experience within the company provides members with the necessary skills and techniques to find career opportunities and raise aspirations, self-esteem and confidence. The dancers are mentored during four intensive residencies in school holidays to create and rehearse a new piece by the company’s Guest Artistic Director. The 2023/24 residencies will take place in Suffolk, Birmingham, Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

Guest Artistic Director, Oona Doherty said, “I’m amazed at the creativity, stamina, and energy of the company. It’s infectious, and inspiring to get to work with the next generation of performers and dance makers. As well as a learning curve into the professionalism of ‘care’ by the whole NYDC team. I think many choreographers and companies could learn a lot by collaborating with NYDC. I’m excited to see what we as a team will create and share. It makes me proud to work in dance.”

Head of National Youth Dance Company, Hannah Kirkpatrick said,“This is our twelfth cohort of NYDC dancers, and we are really excited to share the piece they are creating with Oona. Each dancer brings their own experience into the company, and they represent all the brilliant and varied training programmes and youth groups across England. Being in NYDC is as much about learning how to work within a company, as it is about creating a new dance piece. NYDC is about 32 young people showing why dance is important to them and what they can achieve together if given the opportunity, platform and resource to do so.”

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