News: ‘Trust your intuition’, Alistair Spalding tells graduates

Friday 31 July 2015

Alistair Spalding speaking at the graduation ceremony after receiving his award.

The Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Sadler’s Wells, Alistair Spalding, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Roehampton, in tribute to his exceptional success and commitment to dance over 15 years at the theatre.

Giving advice to more than 300 graduating students during a ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall, he told them to keep looking until they find the one thing which they really, really loved doing, work hard at it, and trust their instincts in making decisions.

Roehampton has one of the most highly respected university dance departments in the country. Its staff are regularly cited as experts, while in the Government-backed Research Excellence Framework 2014 (most recent), 94 per cent of its research was judged world leading or internationally excellent.

Alistair Spalding joined Sadler’s Wells in 2000 as Director of Programming, and became Chief Executive and Artistic Director five years later. He announced his vision for Sadler’s Wells 10 years ago, saying: “You’ve got the National Theatre for drama, the English National Opera for opera and I want Sadler’s Wells to perform that same function for dance.”

Dr Ann R David, Head of the Department of Dance at Roehampton said: “To my mind, Alistair Spalding is certainly an influential figure in the dance world today. His life-long love affair for dance has drawn hundreds of thousands of people to watch a wide spectrum of dance performances. He has supported contemporary dance in this country, and demonstrated to many how passion can become a fruitful career. He has successfully balanced creativity and business intuition, which makes his success at Sadler’s Wells even more creditable.”

Alistair Spalding’s advice to graduating Roehampton students:

  • Make sure you keep looking until you find that one thing that you love doing. It should be something which gives you great pleasure.
  • Work hard when you do find it. Always push yourself forward and go to the limit of what you can achieve, and rewards will come.
  • Listen to yourself and trust your intuition, for big and small decisions. If you know instinctively what the answer to an issue is, then that is what you should trust. Look inside yourself and trust your own judgement.

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