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Spice Girl Melanie C to dance at Sadler’s Wells

Written by on 20th January 2023

The former Sporty Spice will open the London theatre’s spring season in a contemporary dance collaboration with experimental choreographer Jules Cunningham.

Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm is set to take a career swerve into contemporary dance, appearing at Sadler’s Wells theatre in London in a new collaboration with choreographer Jules Cunningham and dancer Harry Alexander. The piece, titled How Did We Get Here? will open the theatre’s spring season in January 2023.

Chisholm, AKA Melanie C, trained in ballet, tap and jazz dance in childhood, but has never danced contemporary. “Contemporary dance is a world I’ve always been fearful of,” she said on Tuesday. “I feel like I don’t understand it, it’s quite intimidating, so I’m really excited to be part of it because I think I can open it up maybe to a new demographic of people that maybe feel the same way.”

Cunningham, who danced for 10 years with the Merce Cunningham company (no relation) in New York, is known for searching, experimental work often examining identity and gender. The Liverpool-born choreographer was a huge Spice Girls fan in their teens. When Chisholm was first emailed about the project, she thought it was a joke, but she was excited and intrigued enough to meet with Cunningham. “The respect I have for Sadler’s Wells, especially growing up really aspiring to dance on a stage like this, it’s just … wow!” said Chisholm.

Chisholm told the Sadler’s Wells annual press conference that dancing had always been a way to express herself, sometimes when words failed. She and Cunningham had similar early training – “we both love a step-ball-change” – and in the new work, the three performers will be telling their own physical stories through dance. Being in the studio with Cunningham and Alexander has been a very different process to working in the pop world and the West End. “It feels quite therapeutic, in a way,” said Chisholm. “We have lots of shared experiences in the type of training we did as kids and that connection has allowed me to drop my guard and be very open. It’s very emotional, it’s very creative, and it’s a very different pace to what I’m used to. So for me, it’s a way of just letting go.”

The former Sporty Spice admits her dance technique is rusty but loves a challenge, and still has some of girl power’s can-do spirit. She’ll be 49 when the show opens. “Should I be dancing at my age? Fuck yes!” Nonetheless, Chisholm admits she’s nervous. “I’m petrified,” she says, “There’s a lot of pressure.” Especially since with her public profile, she can’t try new things quietly. Will the other Spice Girls come to support her? “I’m sure Mel B will be here, she has a very strong dance background as well, so I’m sure she’ll be intrigued to come and have a look.” Will there be any of Sporty Spice’s trademark karate kicks? That’s TBC. Will there be singing? “Perhaps …”

(Source: The Guardian)