Dance Umbrella announces Four by Four – a 40th anniversary initiative supporting the choreographers of the future

  • Val Bourne CBE, Betsy Gregory and Emma Gladstone have invited Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Stephen Petronio, Akram Khan, and Rocío Molina to nominate an emerging talent to make work for future festivals
  • Dance Umbrella 2018 will take place from 26 September – 21 October in venues across London

Dance Umbrella, London’s flagship festival of international dance, will celebrate its 40th anniversary this autumn. To mark this milestone DU has launched Four by Four – a programme inspired by the festival’s four decades of artistic growth, a way of moving forwards by looking back.

In Four by Four all three of DU’s Artistic Directors, Val Bourne CBE, Betsy Gregory and Emma Gladstone, have invited an established artist from their time at the helm to nominate a ‘choreographer of the future’.

Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Stephen Petronio, Akram Khan and Rocío Molina will each nominate four young, up-and-coming choreographers to receive funding from Four by Four to create a show that will be performed in future festivals. The selected recipients will be announced during the festival this autumn.

Emma Gladstone, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Dance Umbrella, said: “We are delighted to announce our Four by Four nominators today. Through this new development programme we are able to continue to support and nurture exceptional talent, which is what Dance Umbrella has always striven to do. For this special anniversary year I wanted to find a way to acknowledge the history of DU whilst still looking to the future, and asking the wisdom of artists who have had a significant impact on the festival and the wider contemporary dance scene felt a good way to do that. ”

Val Bourne CBE who was Artistic Director from 1978-2007, said: “In my 29 years as founder Artistic Director of Dance Umbrella there have been so many highlights and I’m immensely proud to have brought so much international talent to our shores such as Anne Teresa and Stephen. I am hugely excited to discover who they will select as recipients of the support this initiative will provide, and I encourage anyone who cares about the future of contemporary dance to support this commissioning initiative in whatever way they can.

In Dance Umbrella’s first decade (1978–1988) choreographers such as Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Trisha Brown, Merce Cunningham, Compagnie Cré-Ange, Steve Paxton and Mark Morris were among the international artists invited to perform in London, together with the UK’s Siobhan Davies, MAAS Movers, Rosemary Butcher, Richard Alston, Michael Clark, Jonathan Burrows and Shobana Jeyasingh among many, many more.

Over the years DU has gone on to provide an astonishing eighty artists with essential funds to make shows, acting as a catalyst by investing in their visions and enabling audiences to see truly pioneering dance. DU’s belief in the power of helping artists in this way still burns bright and Four by Four is a celebration of this legacy as the festival looks to the next forty years and beyond.

More information about how to donate and support for Four by Four can be found at




17c – BIG DANCE THEATER                                            UK PREMIERE
The Old Vic: Wednesday 26 – Saturday 29 September 7.00pm
Saturday 29 September 2.30pm
Press performance: Thursday 27 September 7.00pm

Presented by Dance Umbrella in partnership with The Old Vic.
With support from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.

Greenwich Peninsula: Saturday 29 September 2pm & 4pm
BOXPARK Croydon: Sunday 7 October 12.30pm & 2pm
Somerset House: Saturday 13 October 3pm & 5pm
Press performance: Saturday 29 September 4pm
Presented by Dance Umbrella.
Produced by Complicité.
In partnership with Greenwich Peninsula, Croydon Council and Somerset House.


National Theatre, Cottesloe Room: Tuesday 2 October 5.30pm – 7pm
Vicky Featherstone in conversation with Ruth Little
Produced by Dance Umbrella in partnership with the National Theatre.
Supported by One Dance UK.

RED – WEN HUI                                                                             LONDON PREMIERE
Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room: Thursday 4 – Friday 5 October 7.45pm
Press performance: Thursday 4 October 7.45pm
Part of Southbank Centre’s China Changing Festival
Presented by Dance Umbrella in partnership with Southbank Centre.

CONCERT – COLIN DUNNE                                                         LONDON PREMIERE
The Pit, Barbican Centre: Wednesday 17 – Saturday 20 October 7.45pm
Press performance: Thursday 18 October 7.45pm
Presented by Dance Umbrella in partnership with the Barbican. With support from Culture Ireland.

VIA KANANA – VIA KATLEHONG                                                        UK PREMIERE
Part of OUT OF THE SYSTEM                                                                          
Shoreditch Town Hall: Wednesday 10 – Thursday 11 October 7.30pm
Press Performance: Wednesday 10 October 7.30pm
Presented by Dance Umbrella in partnership with Shoreditch Town Hall.

CRXSS PLATFXRM                                                                     FESTIVAL EXCLUSIVE
Part of OUT OF THE SYSTEM                                                             

Shoreditch Town Hall: Friday 12 October 6pm
Presented by Dance Umbrella in partnership with CRXSS PLATFXRM and Shoreditch Town Hall.

Sadler’s Wells: Tuesday 16 – Wednesday 17 October 7.30pm
Press performance: Tuesday 16 October 7.30pm
Presented by Dance Umbrella in partnership with Sadler’s Wells.

KoKERS – DADODANS                                                                      LONDON PREMIERE
Stratford Circus Arts Centre: Saturday 29 September 11am
artsdepot: Sunday 30 September 11am & 2pm
The Place: Saturday 6 October 10.30am & 2pm
Watermans: Sunday 7 October 11.30am
Press tickets available for all performances
For ages 3+
A Dance Umbrella Orbital London Tour in partnership with artsdepot, Stratford Circus Arts Centre, The Place and Watermans.

THRESHOLD – LE PATIN LIBRE                                                            UK PREMIERE
Alexandra Palace Ice Rink
Thursday 18 October 8.30pm
Friday 19 – Sunday 21 October 6.15pm & 8.45pm
Press performance: Thursday 18 October 8.30pm
Presented by Dance Umbrella in partnership with Alexandra Palace. Supported by Québec Government Office, London. Co-producers – Dance Umbrella (London), Danse Danse (Montreal, Canada), Théâtre de la Ville de Paris (France), National Arts Centre (Canada), Nuits de Fourvière de Lyon (France).

The full programme is attached and can be viewed online at