Review: Sadler's Wells Sampled

Performance: 24 & 25 Jan 09
Reviewed by Louise Kelsey - Tuesday 27 January 2009

Sadler’s Wells had a very different feel on Saturday night. With live installations in the foyers and a charged atmosphere in the auditorium, everyone was prepared for an assorted and exciting evening. Sadler’s Wells Sampled, now in its third year of offering a wide variety of performance samples portraying a multitude of dance styles, proved how diverse the dance culture is across the globe. From flamenco, to ballet, to hip-hop, the night had something for everyone, and was a fantastic opportunity to flavour new styles.

The night’s performance opened with a display of Flamenco by Rojas & Rodriguez. The dancers’ intricate steps carried them through artistic formations, led by the powerful music that richly complemented the complex rhythms driving the piece. When the curtain rose to Tchaikovsky’s score, it was to a magical scene in which Michele Wiles and David Hallberg from American Ballet Theatre gracefully delivered the White Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake.

To close the first part of the night’s performances Flying Steps presented B-Boy 4 Life, a group of seven specialising in urban dance forms. The audience showed their appreciation for the vibrant and energetic cast, particularly for the impressive tricks displayed by this talented group.

The interval allowed for an exploration of the installations, the most eye catching being Brian Lobel’s Hold My Hand and We’re Halfway There in which, beneath his starry headphones, he energetically performed to musicals on the television screen he was connected to, not dissimilar to how a child would dance along to their favourite part of a film. Other of the foyer events included a dance machine, Matt Delbridge’s The Pedestrian Patch Project, seeking to influence unusual pedestrian behaviour, and of

Tanya Syed’s presentation of two cameos of ritual dance projected into the circular cinema of a hat box called *Luminous Objects*. Back in the auditorium, the seats were filling for part two of the night’s performances. Opening with a solo choreographed by Russell Maliphant, Two, created for and performed by Dana Fouras showed Fouras confined to a box of light for the whole piece. As a result the piece seemed quite limited, restricting her movement to a small patch of stage, however the piece gradually built up from silence to become a powerfully dynamic performance. Yet again the curtain rose to the sound of Tchaikovsky, but for a different interpretation of the traditional Swan Lake performed earlier. Created by Matthew Bourne, the beautifully crafted Swan and Prince duet, delivered by Richard Winsor and Aaron Sillis was playful and emotive which they made appear effortless. Finally a jaw dropping finish to the night by Les 7 doights de la main, showing extracts of circus tricks from *Traces*. The cast revealing their many talents enchanted the audience with their daring skills, superbly closing the evening’s events.

Sadler’s Wells proved that there truly is something for everyone to enjoy in dance. The accessibility of the show was fabulous and it was great to be part of such a terrific audience.

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