VERVE 22 Programme - Northern School of Contemporary Dance


Thursday 29th October 2020, 1:58pm VERVE 22: Programme announced


Applications to be part of VERVE 22 are now open. Create brand new work with international choreographers and their collaborators, restage a seminal work by one of the world’s most renowned artists. Tour across the UK and Europe, grow your artistry with VERVE Artistic Director Matthew Robinson and a variety of guest artists, develop teaching skills and participate in international exchanges with peers.

Next year (2021/22) the company will present work by:

AKRAM KHAN - VERTICAL ROAD, restaged by Akram Khan Company




VERVE Research Commissions will invite two artists to our home at Northern School of Contemporary Dance to research their practice with the company, without a prescribed outcome. More details below.

Our search for a company of dancers begins now.

apply now

VERVE is the postgraduate company of Northern School of Contemporary Dance and all dancers are enrolled on the School’s MA in Contemporary Dance Performance.

Course info How to apply

Statement from Matthew Robinson, VERVE Artistic Director

“In 2021/22 we welcome three artists, each with a distinct enquiry, to create and stage work with the company. Alongside this I am delighted to introduce VERVE Research Commissions to our programme, an opportunity for our dancers to work, in research, with a further two artists.

Alesandra Seutin brings her wealth of experience, drawn from all over the world, to Leeds, in a brand new work for the company.

Due to Covid-19 our collaboration with Akram Khan Company was postponed this year. We are thrilled to be able to stage the acclaimed ‘Vertical Road’ in 21/22.

Finally I am delighted to welcome back Sita Ostheimer to VERVE. Sita’s physical language and deep exploration of emotional territory makes for sumptuous dance work, full of thought and feeling.

We recognise each dancer has their unique journey, and support them in exploring their unique potential rigorously. Alongside working with choreographers, VERVE work with exceptional practitioners across many movement practices in the development of their practice.

I am delighted by the success of our alumni, performing with other artists and companies all over the world, and/or forging ahead with their own choreographic work and practices.

Leeds is a dynamic place to grow as an artist. I look forward to watching applicants’ online submissions, and hopefully welcoming those recalled to Leeds in January 2021.”

Akram Khan

Akram Khan is one of the most celebrated and respected dance artists today. In just over 18 years he has created a body of work that has contributed significantly to the arts in the UK and abroad. His reputation has been built on the success of imaginative, highly accessible and relevant productions such as Until the Lions, Kaash, iTMOi (in the mind of igor), DESH, Vertical Road, Gnosis and zero degrees.

An instinctive and natural collaborator, Khan has been a magnet to world-class artists from other cultures and disciplines. His previous collaborators include the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, choreographers/dancers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Israel Galván, singer Kylie Minogue, visual artists Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Tim Yip, writer Hanif Kureishi and composers Steve Reich, Nitin Sawhney, Jocelyn Pook and Ben Frost.

VERVE will work with the Akram Khan Company team to restage extracts of Vertical Road.

Watch: Vertical Road

Alesandra Seutin

Alesandra Seutin is an international performer, choreographer, dramaturg and teacher. Alesandra was born in Harare, Zimbabwe, grew up in Brussels and now lives in London.

Alesandra founded Vocab Dance in 2007 and has built an international reputation for creating thought-provoking and visually striking performances. Her creativity is triggered by issues that reflect social, political and economic circumstances and through movement, voice and music, she shares stories that induce conversations.

Past company productions have toured around the UK, Europe, Canada, Africa and Brazil. Current works include Giant and Boy Breaking Glasswhich premiered as part of Reckonings at Sadler’s Wells, London in October 2018.

Other recent choreographic commissions include Icon for Studio Wayne McGregorINA (Light) for Sadler’s Wells/Random Acts (Channel 4), and Dare I Speak for Company of Elders at Sadler’s Wells.

Alesandra holds a Diploma in Dance Theatre from Trinity Laban and a degree in Choreography and Performance from Middlesex University. Alesandra also trained at the École des Sables, Senegal, training directly under Germaine Acogny. Alesandra is a worldwide ambassador of the Acogny technique, which she teaches at École des Sables and globally.

Alesandra will be Guest Artistic Director for the National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) 2020-21.

Watch: previous work

Sita Ostheimer

After finishing her studies in Frankfurt, Sita Ostheimer joined MS Schrittmacher at Staatstheater Oldenburg, working with Itzik Galili in Groningen and Krisztina de Chatel in Amsterdam. In 2008 she joined Hofesh Shechter Company, choreographing Noble thinking, Accompany and Dissimilar foxes for Shechter’s IN GOOD COMPANY evening.

As a freelance choreographer, she has created Metanoia, Balter and Ubuntu for Bodhi Project, Mangata and Nowhere but 2.5 for Frontier Danceland Singapore, Eigenrausch for CobosMika in Spain, Creatures of the wild and Îakare for b12 Festival in Berlin, and Nobody ‘Cept You for VERVE.

In addition, she worked as Shechter’s choreographic assistant, re-staging his work for companies such as NDT I, Staatstheater Kassel (where she was also rehearsal director 2014-2015), Ballet Basel, Staatsballett Berlin, Aterballetto, Staatstheater Darmstadt/Wiesbaden and Paris Opera Ballet.

Since 2017 Sita has been Artistic Director of her company Sita Ostheimer Company, based in Berlin, and created work such as Molimo, Chasm, Us, Two and Human in pieces. With her workshop series COMPLEX SIMPLICITY she shares her philosophy and physicality worldwide.

Watch: Previous Work

VERVE Research Commissions

In 2021/22 VERVE will offer our first Research Commissions, inviting two artists to engage in studio research with the VERVE dancers, supported by VERVE Artistic Director Matthew Robinson. Each commission will be bespoke, shaped in collaboration with the artist, to support their ongoing practice. This opportunity will allow the VERVE dancers to connect with a further two artists, in another format, not driven by a performative outcome.

There will soon be an open call for choreographers to participate in this programme. Artists selected will be announced at a later date. If this opportunity interests you please follow our social channels for updates.


*All information subject to change