Sadler’s Wells conductor knighted for service to dance

Sadler’s Wells boss Alistair Spalding has said he is sharing his knight with his “wonderful team”.

he artistic director and CEO of the London Theater has been awarded the New Year Honors for service to dance.

He said: “It is a great honor that the work of Sadler’s Wells is recognized in this way.

“It has presented and invested in more new dance than any other theater in the world.

Dancing is, of course, teamwork and the honor is very much shared with my wonderful team at Sadler’s and our artists and collaborators.Alistair Spalding

“Dance is now one of the most popular art forms in this country. I believe this award is an indication that our vibrant dance culture is growing, and that our ambitious plans for Sadler’s Wells East will inspire and nurture a new generation.

“Dancing is, of course, teamwork and this honor is very much shared with my wonderful team at Sadler’s and our artists and collaborators.”

His career began at the Hawth Theater in Crawley and he was responsible for dance and performance at the Southbank Center from 1994 to 2000.

He joined Sadler’s Well in 2000 as Director of Programming before becoming Artistic Director and General Manager in 2004.

Under his leadership, Sadler’s Wells grew, also welcoming international dance companies including the famous Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Cloud Gate Dance Theater in Taiwan.

He has overseen over 130 shows at Sadler’s Wells and his productions include A Quiet Evening of Dance by William Forsythe, as well as the dance-theater production Message In A Bottle.


A production of Singin ‘in the Rain at Sadler’s Wells (Yui Mok / PA)

A production of Singin ‘in the Rain at Sadler’s Wells (Yui Mok / PA)

Produced by Kate Prince, the production was a collaboration between Sadler’s Wells and Universal Music UK, to music by award-winning musician Sting.

Spalding was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) on the Queen’s Honors List in 2012.

His other distinctions include the award of the Chevalier des Artes et Lettres by the French Embassy in 2005.

Nigel Higgins, President of Sadler’s Wells, said: “Alistair is that rare character – a true visionary in the performing arts world.

“Through his leadership and creativity, Sadler’s Wells has become a British beacon of the thriving national and international dance community.

“In a few years, the opening of our new venue in Stratford, east London, will further underscore his tireless efforts to educate new audiences and nurture the dance talents of tomorrow.

“This honor is more than deserved.

Sadler’s Wells is one of the national holding organizations of the Arts Council of England and currently has three theaters: Sadler’s Wells Theater, Lilian Baylis Studio and Peacock Theater, with a fourth venue opening in Olympic Park Queen Elizabeth in 2023.

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