Forest Gate teenager to star in Sadler’s Wells dance premiere

PUBLISHED: 19:00 02 April 2016

Lucia Fortune-Ely will appear at Sadler's Wells next week in a performance directed by Michael Keegan-Dolan. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

Lucia Fortune-Ely will appear at Sadler's Wells next week in a performance directed by Michael Keegan-Dolan. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

© Jane Hobson 07798 794205

A sixth former will be swapping school books for the stage when she leaps into the limelight next week.

Forest Gate student Lucia Fortune-Ely, 17, is hard at work for her A-levels this summer at St Angela’s Ursuline School.

But Lucia, who took up ballet at the age of three, is also focusing on a unique performance at Sadler’s Wells. With 39 other gifted young dancers from across the country, she will be interpreting Max Richter’s ritualistic re-composition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons: In – Nocentes.

“I’d describe it as difficult but very human,” said Lucia, who lives with her family in Capel Road, Forest Gate.

“It’s the convergence of literal dance and of classical forms such as ballet. I’d describe it as a meeting of the physicality of dance with the next form.”

The production by National Youth Dance Company (NYDC) was developed by director Michael Keegan-Dolan over a series of three intensive residential camps, including one this Easter.

Lucia, who will return to Sadler’s Wells in her second year at NYDC, describes the piece as being “about the relationship between dance and music” rather than being weighed down by the typical constraints of direct story line or narrative.

Keegan-Dolan took inspiration from improvised dances by the company, who are aged between 15-21, and created a piece which uses Richter’s music and is performed live by Southbank Sinfonia.

As Lucia eloquently describes: “It’s very funny, but there are moments that are kind of dark – like a display of life itself.

“We are working more collaboratively. Last year we were mainly learning repetoire, but this time we spent almost the whole week improvising. He’s [Keegan-Dolan’s] got inspiration from us then created something else. It’s something that hasn’t been done before.”

Lucia’s words on darkness and light reflect the intended meaning of In – Nocentes.

Director Keegan-Dolan said: “Innocence is often associated with weakness – but there is tremendous strength and beauty in the ability to remain open in the face of perceived harm.

“As adults, we lose our innocence as we learn to live safe or exact lives and in the process we can easily forget what it means to live fully.”

He concluded: “With this work I celebrate the wonderful individuality, freedom, diversity and innocence of these bold young dancers, who have the power to shape the future of their world.”

In – Nocentes premieres at Sadler’s Wells next Thursday, April 7 at 7.30pm. Tickets £12/£6 concessions. Go to to book. For more tour dates until July visit

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