Olivier Award Winning Dancer & Choreographer Botis Seva talks about his show ‘BLKDOG’ which forms part of Sadler’s Wells ‘Well Seasoned’ Programme
Presented four years ago as a smaller work as part of Sadler’s Wells’ Reckonings programme, choreographer and dancer Botis Seva’s BLKDOG returns as a fully realised production. One that has won him an Olivier Award for Best New Production in 2019 and critical acclaim in 2021 as it returned to the Sadler’s Wells Stage. An exploration of memory and trauma, the Hip Hop production sees Botis reunited with musical collaborator Torben Lars Sylvest and also features spoken word elements from his performance company Far From the Norm. Ahead of the production, taking place on Friday 30th September and Saturday 1st October 2022 as part of Sadler’s Wells’s Well Seasoned programme celebrating black dance, Botis tells us more about what to expect
Hi Botis, your Award Winning show BLKDOG returns to Sadler’s Wells from the 30th September to 1st October. How are you feeling?
I’m feeling blessed to back at Sadler’s Wells. Performing in this theatre always brings back amazing memories as we developed some of the work in the building so it is a treat to get the performers back on stage – the show is a special one to me and I’m just grateful we can share it with a big audience.
BLKDOG explores the inner battlefield of an ageing artist trying to retain his youth. What inspired you to explore this topic further?
The theme of the show has slowly changed during the pandemic. I had much more head space to think about the show – it became less about an ageing artist and more about how we as humans suppress things that have happened in our childhood. This show is for people who just want to give up on life, for the people who find it hard to speak about the past. It’s for you to come and experience and take something that could hopefully inspire you in some way.
The production was first seen as part of Sadler’s Wells’ Reckonings Festival in 2018 and has since transformed into a full length play, receiving an Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production in 2019. What has the show’s four year journey involved and how have you adapted it from its very beginnings?
This show has taught me a lot. I first made it when my son was born, he is now 5 years old. I have gone on a crazy journey of understanding that everything you create has to come from an honest place. Each of us have stories we need to tell the world, we just need time to process and there is no rush. I’ve learnt to stop chasing things and trust the voice of god.
BLKDOG forms part of Sadler’s Wells Well Seasoned programme, a programme bringing exceptional and relevant shows by Black artists to the stage, celebrating Black dance. What does it mean to you to form part of this timely programme?
Well-seasoned is a great programme for black artists as it allows audiences to watch different work. Over the last couple of years the same works have been playing in the main theatres and black artists haven’t been seen as much, so this programme allows this to happen and I’m happy to be a part of it.
What so far have you taken away from the show’s creative journey?
I let my art do what it needs to do. Use your art
for the right reason and reflect the times we
are dealing with. There are broken humans all
around us who are trying their best to cope;
we need to show each other more love and
What can audiences expect from the production?
You can expect a fast paced journey of hardship, with moments to reflect. The music takes you on a roller-coaster ride using different instrumentation and sounds from the world of electronic and hip hop – the dance style is rooted in hip hop culture. We use street dance styles and play with the form and foundation to create a language which becomes much more freeform.
What would you like for audiences to take away from the production?
We play a lot with memories, and we use this to take you on a maze-like experience. Some audiences will pick up the story, some people may just think it is a series of images, but it’s up to you as an audience member to take what you can. There is a story in everything… we just need to look deeper.
Questions by Lucy Basaba.
BLKDOG will show from Friday 30th September until Saturday 1st October 2022 at Sadler’s Wells. To find out more about the production, visit here…
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