Matsena Productions and House of Absolute to Stage SHADES OF BLUE/WARRIOR QUEENS

The dance show is set for May 6th and 7th.

By: Apr. 08, 2022
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Matsena Productions and House of Absolute to Stage SHADES OF BLUE/WARRIOR QUEENS

Matsena Productions and House of Absolute present their latest work for the first time in Sadler's Wells Theatre on Friday 6 & Saturday 7 May in a double bill as part of the Well Seasoned Programme, a Sadler's Wells initiative to platform and celebrate work by Black dancemakers.

Anthony Matsena was a Sadler's Wells Young Associate in 2018 and Julia Cheng has been a Sadler's Wells' Breakin' Convention Associate since 2018. Pursuing their journeys across the Sadler's Wells stages, with this production they both present works that explore the relationships to adversity and ancestry.

Shades of Blue was conceived by artistic directors and brothers Kel and Anthony Matsena to question the relation one holds to the colour blue today - soothing for some, it can be threatening for others. Shades of Blue was created in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and protests that crystallised the strength of communities in the face of racist policing. It beats to the tune of change through the means of a potent mix of dance, poetry, theatre and music - where performance and protest clash, flirt and mould.

Performed by nine artists, the show aims to make the audience rethink their position in society and celebrate a stronger, more inclusive and sustainable future, made by all, with all.

Members of the creative team working on this production include actor Alfred Enoch, who is starting a new career path as dramaturg, LX designer Ryan Joseph Stafford and composer Lara Agar.

Talking about the show coming to Sadler's Wells Theatre, Kel Matsena, Matsena Productions' Co-artistic Director, said: "It's hard to find the perfect words to express how excited we are about presenting Shades of Blue in Sadler's Wells Theatre this May. It's something we'd always dreamt of but never imagined it would come this quickly.

"It's down to our amazing team of supporters and collaborators who continue to inspire us to break boundaries and be bold in all that we do. It's also down to the refreshing and forward-thinking approach Sadler's Wells have taken to trust us with such an opportunity. It's a special thing that we and so many other young artists and artists of colour are finally being given a voice on a national & international scale. We truly believe we are living inside a new renaissance and are honoured to be part of this new and exciting narrative."

House of Absolute's Artistic Director and Olivier Award nominated choreographer Julia Cheng presents Warrior Queens - a multidisciplinary work that interrogates displacement, cultural hybridity and power. Inspired by the legendary folk myth of 'Hua Mulan' and Virginia Woolf's 'Orlando', the piece delves into ancestry and lineage through exploring yin yang energy, identity, adversity and the strength of the modern-day woman warrior.

Choreographed by Cheng, the work is performed by six dance artists, a live percussionist, vocalist and three live musicians of the Philharmonia Orchestra who create the live musical soundscape of the piece.

Julia Cheng said: "We are so grateful to be presenting Warrior Queens at Sadler's Wells as part of the Well Seasoned programme! Alongside a collaboration with Philharmonia Orchestra and their musicians, we have also been supported by a range of organisations such as DanceEast, University of Bedfordshire and Arts Council England that really believe in our work and our ethos as a company.

"House of Absolute strive to create work that connects to all walks of life, that represents the demographic and cultures of the communities that inspire our artistry each day. Warrior Queens cuts deep into my gut as a visual inner fight of strength, a community of matriarchal power. It studies the complexities of oppression in all its acute and obvious forms. In today's world having grown up in western environments, being exposed to constant polar imagery of societal pressures, gender inequalities, ideals of beauty, strength and what power is, we are on a journey together to connect back to the true essence of ourselves without all the extra added noise and expectation. Celebrating the uniqueness of our ancestry, lineage, the bloodline that runs through our faces and bodies."

Sir Alistair Spalding, Sadler's Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive, said: "We are looking forward to presenting the timely works by Anthony, Kel and Julia. They have been supported both through our artist development programmes and the great work of Breakin' Convention - and we are now proud to bring Shades of Blue and Warrior Queens to wider audiences in the Sadler's Wells Theatre as part of the Well Seasoned programme."

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