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Alistair Spalding

Michael Berkeley talks to the Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Sadler's Wells, Alistair Spalding.

Alistair Spalding talks about dance with the zeal of the convert. Although he's headed Sadler's Wells since 2004, commissioning new work from leading international choreographers - Akram Khan, Mark Morris, Matthew Bourne, Pina Bausch - he doesn't come from a dance background. He left school at sixteen, and worked in a solicitor's office, aiming to be a lawyer. He then studied linguistics and philosophy and became a primary school teacher. And so, how did he end up becoming Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Sadler's Wells in London, the top British venue for international dance?

In Private Passions, Alistair Spalding reveals his route to an unlikely career, beginning with the first dance performance he ever saw: John Cage was in the pit, blowing on a conch shell. He explains his vision of drawing in the best contemporary composers to write for dance, and of widening the repertoire to include older dancers. He discusses too his innovative and highly popular dance afternoons for the over-65s.

Music choices include Debussy, Bach, Thomas Adès, Monteverdi, Nick Cave and Joni Mitchell.

Produced by Elizabeth Burke
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.

Available now

32 minutes

Clip

Music Played

  • Claude Debussy

    Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune

    Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra. Conductor: Pierre Boulez.
  • Leonard Bernstein

    America (West Side Story)

    Performer: Chita Rivera. Performer: Marilyn Cooper.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Ich ruf zu Dir

    Performer: Alfred Brendel. Music Arranger: Ferruccio Busoni.
  • Thomas Adès

    Polaris

    Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Thomas Adès.
  • Nick Cave

    Skeleton Tree

    Performer: Nick Cave.
  • Joni Mitchell

    Amelia

    Performer: Joni Mitchell.
  • Claudio Monteverdi

    Adagiati, Poppea (L'Incoronazione di Poppea)

    Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: John Pritchard. Singer: Magda László.

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