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National Dance Company Wales announces new Artistic Director

Matthew Robinson (Credit Genevieve Reeves)

National Dance Company Wales (NDCWales) is pleased to announce Matthew Robinson as the Company’s new Artistic Director.

Matthew will join the company in the Autumn direct from his role as Artistic Director of VERVE, the postgraduate company of Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD) where Matthew has led the company for five years. Matthew is a practising artist having worked as a dancer, choreographer, facilitator, Rehearsal Director and Artistic Director.

Matthew was appointed Artistic Director of VERVE in 2016, under his direction VERVE became known for its bold commissioning, collaborating with world renowned and fresh choreographic voices like Botis Seva, Maxine Doyle and Sita Ostheimer to create distinct, engaging programmes of dance work, reaching thousands of people each year, onstage, online and in outreach work.

Matthew is excited about sharing his vision for what dance can do with audiences and participants in Wales and beyond.

Matthew said: “I grew up in a small Devon town, a young gay person. I did not know how to identify myself. I did not see myself in the media or in my community. Dance offered me an inclusive space where my identity could flourish, I lead with this in mind every day, seeking to develop dance as a safe and ambitious space for all.

Watching or participating in dance can have a profound effect on somebody’s life, it can change how we see ourselves, others, and the world around us. I believe this because I have lived it. Seeing yourself represented on stage, feeling your life experience translated in front of you, or being swept away by an immersive world created before your very eyes.

Dance, at its best, is transformative, inspiring, entertaining and provocative. We can challenge and be accessible, be physically thrilling and politically powerful. I believe in engaging, ambitious programming reflective of 21st century society in all its diversity and beautiful complexity. I bring my ambition to reach beyond core dance audiences, to be a catalyst for the change we seek in our world.

I look forward to gaining insight into the unique ecology in Wales. I am eager to learn about and work with the Welsh dance scene. We all have our stories to share, and our perspectives to reveal, and I look forward to having these conversations and collaborations. I look forward to sharing my vision for what dance can do for audiences and participants in Wales and beyond.”

Jane McCloskey, Chair of the Board of Trustees said:
I’m delighted our search for a new Artistic Director attracted such a talented national and international field. Matthew stood out as an exceptional and exciting candidate for the role and will help us reach new audiences, new participants and new heights.”

Paul Kaynes, Chief Executive of National Dance Company Wales said: “We had an exciting and international field of applicants, but Matthew captured the opportunities to work in new ways to create change in our world, putting the communities of Wales at the heart of his artistic plans, and telling the stories of Wales around the world. His deep commitment to inclusion and diversity in his work and the artists he works with, will enable the Company to continue to present world-class dance made by artists from many backgrounds. We’re incredibly excited to be welcoming him to Wales.

Matthew is a graduate of London Contemporary Dance School and danced for many years for Scottish Dance Theatre, performing work by a diverse range of international choreographers, including Sharon Eyal, Damien Jalet, Hofesh Shechter, and Victor Quijada. In 2013 he took on the responsibilities of Rehearsal Director, supporting the dancers and guest artists in their creative process, and the company on multiple international tours.