Auntie comes to the dance

The BBC and Sadler’s Wells are collaborating on a day-long virtual arts festival for later this month.

In a new partnership supported by Arts Council England, Dancing Nation, featuring Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Northern Ballet and Shobana Jeyasingh Dance (main image), will stream with 15 performances in three hour-long programmes on January 28. Akram Khan and Natalia Osipova will also perform together for the first time in Khan’s Mud of Sorrow: Touch.

Primarily scheduled to be presented on January 14, following the latest lockdown Sadler’s Wells and the BBC have adapted the programme as part of the broadcaster’s Culture in Quarantine initiative and to be compliant with new distancing guidelines. Dancing Nation is part of Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage, an online programme of performances and workshops which has generated over 5m views since March 2020. In Dancing Nation  New Adventures will present Bourne’s early 1988 work Spitfire, Northern Ballet will perform Kenneth Tindall’s States of Mind, and Shobana Jeyasingh’s company will dance her acclaimed 2018 piece Contagion, inspired by the Spanish flu pandemic of a century ago.

“The event is a showcase of the breadth of dancers and choreographers making work in the UK today, and a celebration of their talent to inspire us to look forward to 2021 with renewed optimism” said Sadler’s Wells’s CEO Alistair Spalding. “We hope that audiences all around the world will watch the event and enjoy some of the artists and performances we have been missing this year. We thank our partners at BBC Arts and Arts Council England for their continued support, collaboration and commitment to artists and arts audiences, which have made ambitious projects like Dancing Nation possible.”

The festival covers all dance styles, with performances also from Candoco Dance Company, Oona Doherty, English National Ballet, Boy Blue, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Far From The Norm, and Rambert.

“Dance has the ability to captivate and energise; enthral and give us time for reflection” added the BBC’s Stephen James-Yeoman. “Throughout this most challenging of years the UK's creative industries continue to innovate to ensure audiences have access to world class culture and BBC Arts is committed to working with those artists and organisations as part of its Culture in Quarantine initiative to bring art and culture into the nation’s homes.”

An introductory clip for the festival can be seen here:

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