Joh Bates studio_Kerry Nicholls_Photo by Pari Naderi

Kerry Nicholls is a dance artist and educator who has taught, choreographed, mentored and performed for numerous dance companies and institutions worldwide, and her experience spans a diverse dance practice spectrum. Photo by Pari Naderi

Kerry has received many choreographic commissions within Europe, Cuba, China and the USA, and has directed various projects at London venues such as the National Theatre, the Royal Opera House and the Royal Festival Hall.

Kerry is director and owner of Kerry Nicholls Dance, embodying the values and spirit of the brand which launched in Autumn 2012 and has embarked on devising her own project ‘KND Performance Mentoring Programme’ to support and boost mid-career dance artists. This runs this summer for the second year.

In August, Kerry will create her first work as the Artistic Director for National Youth Dance Wales, which will be toured around Wales, culminating in a performance at Sadler’s Wells early in September 2015.


Apex Rising runs at Sadlers Wells, 4 & 5th September 2015. For information and tickets visit: Apex Rising 


My grandparents’ garden in the Midlands was on split levels and there were three different ‘zones’ so we all felt we had our own personal sanctuary. My Grandpa was a green-fingered whizz with growing tomatoes and rhubarb – the smell of tomatoes to this day reminds me of entering his precious greenhouse and conjures up the warmest nostalgia. My Nan loved her roses and bright coloured flowers and spent hours ensuring they were manicured and cared for. My brother and I darted in and out of the sprinkler on hot sunny days, and played swing ball and croquet on the large central lawn area. It was a slice of heaven when all three of these elements collided.


  1. Peonies (I love them in all of their forms – the shape of their leaves, the buds, and then the layered flower which crowns the stem)
  2. Lily Of the Valley (these are perfumed and delicate, and a favourite of my Mum’s too which makes me love them more)
  3. Sakura (Cherry Blossom) Trees (the sight of these on the tree-lined street where I live brings me joy each spring. I took a work trip to Washington DC in 2013 and fortunately was there for the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade – it was magical)
  4. Sweet peas (these remind me country gardens)
  5. Chinese Lantern Flowers (we had lots of these growing in our garden when I was a child. I loved seeing the bright orange colour in autumn each year and they still symbolise starting to get cosy with winter approaching)


My partner, son and I moved into a beautiful house in South East London nearly two years ago. I consider myself hugely privileged to have a garden in the city, but more so because we are not overlooked and it is incredibly peaceful. You can’t hear traffic which is a rarity in London. We have a pond with fish, and as I love water it brings me peace to sit beside it after a long day in the studio. It makes me stop. We have a sports ground behind the garden and hearing cricket being enjoyed on a Sunday helps me imagine that we are removed from the city! I love observing the different seasons through our garden. Our lounge doors are completely made of glass so I feel the rhythm of the garden even on wintery days. We have a flock of parakeets, many foxes and all types of birds that visit our garden to enjoy it too

Joh Bates studio_Kerry Nicholls garden

 “This is our garden when we first moved in – it is a little more colourful and personal to us now. We’ve also added a Weeping Cherry Tree which is an early wedding present.”


I worked in Beijing in 2009 and I loved visiting their parks – but especially the Summer Palace which is situated around a most beautiful lake. I enjoyed the communal aspect of the parks, where many families meet daily to exercise, practice tai-chi, eat, listen to music and chat. They were always heavily visited and an integral part of the day. As the spaces were so large, there were areas of peaceful tranquility and a lack of crowds, beautiful trees, water and lily pads – but then generous areas with buzz and activity. It was fabulous how the community used these outdoor spaces within the smog!


If money was no object, I wouldn’t mind the location but it would be amazing if Tadao Ando could design an outdoor space for me and my family. I love his use of glass and concrete, juxtaposed with vibrant plants and flowers. His sense of geometry and order, fused with his understanding of water within it would be a dream. I adore running water so waterfalls would be a huge bonus.

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