Sadler’s Wells announces Boy Blue as next Guest Artistic Director for National Youth Dance Company in 2024/25

Olivier Award-winning hip hop dance theatre company Boy Blue has been appointed as the next Guest Artistic Director of National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) for 2024/25. Boy Blue was founded in East London in 2001 by Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante and Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy and is a radical force that has defined the potential and power of hip hop dance theatre across the UK.

National Youth Dance Company, run by Sadler’s Wells is the country’s flagship company for young dancers. Since its inception 336 dancers have joined the company, working intensively with renowned dance artists as Guest Artistic Directors including Oona Doherty, Wayne McGregor, Alesandra Seutin, Russell Maliphant, Botis Seva, Sharon Eyal, Damien Jalet, Michael Keegan Dolan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Akram Khan & Jasmin Vardimon.

Boy Blue’s dedication to creating world class dance productions is inextricable with their commitment to empowering young people to make space for themselves and tell their own stories. Thousands of young people have been educated at Boy Blue, with the aim of nurturing their ambition and raw talent. The spirit in which Boy Blue was formed came from the 3 E’s – ‘Education, Enlightenment and Entertainment’. Emancipation of Expressionism forms part of the current GCSE dance syllabus, another way in which their work has helped to educate young people.

Boy Blue are known for their acclaimed productions including Olivier Award-winning Pied Piper and Blak Whyte Gray. They recently collaborated with director Danny Boyle, as part of the Creative Team of Free Your Mind, a reimagining of the classic sci-fi film The Matrix which opened as the inaugural show at Aviva Studios, Manchester last year. Sandy choreographed for part of the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony. Boy Blue are a Barbican Artistic Associate and this year return to the Barbican theatre with the world premiere of Cycles (30 Apr – 4 May) their first new show as a company since REDD in 2019.

Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy of Boy Blue said, “I feel very honoured to be given this opportunity to continue to nurture young artists, by providing a space to support and mentor. Enabling me to share my knowledge, theories and application. This gives us a larger platform to bring our craft to the wider dance community.”

Hannah Kirkpatrick, Head of National Youth Dance Company, said, “We are really excited that Boy Blue will be leading the company for the next year. Their experience as world leading hip hop dance theatre makers alongside their belief in supporting and nurturing the next generation of artists meant that they were a perfect fit for us. We can’t wait to start creating the piece and for the Boy Blue and NYDC worlds to collide!”

In April NYDC will begin its search for the next intake of young dancers to join the company and work with Boy Blue to create a new commission from autumn 2024 which will premiere in April 2025. To find these young dancers, NYDC Workshops will be taking place across England from April to July in the following cities: Salford, Leeds, Brighton, Birmingham, Medway, Derby, Newcastle, Wakefield, Falmouth, London and Ipswich. The final audition will be held in London at Sadler’s Wells on Sunday 28th July 2024.

This year’s NYDC cohort premiere current Guest Artistic Director Oona Doherty’s new work Wall at Leeds Playhouse on Saturday 13 April and then embark on a nationwide tour with a performance at Sadler’s Wells Theatre on Saturday 13 July.

NYDC workshops 2024

Date Town/City Venue
3 April Salford Salford Uni
13 April Leeds Leeds Playhouse
20 April Brighton BHASVIC
18 May Birmingham ACE Dance and music
29 May Medway MidKent College
1 June Derby Deda
22 June Newcastle DanceCity
30 June Wakefield CAPA College
7 July Falmouth AMATA
13 July London Sadler’s Wells LBS
20 July Ipswich Dance East

Sign up for the workshops on the NYDC website here…

Written by Theatrefullstop