Having attended a fair share of past Sampled programmes, this year's was a little disappointing for fans of the traditional. Classical ballet was given just twenty minutes of stage time, whereas contemporary and hip-hop managed well over an hour. Fans of all genres, though, will appreciate the highly charismatic performances the evening provides.
They don’t come more charismatic than flamenco dancer, Jesús Carmona, who is accompanied on stage by guitarist Daniel Jurado and singer Juan José Amador.
Solea Del Campillo, dancer Jesús Carmona, musicians Daniel Jurado and Juan José Amador, photo Sadler's Wells
Solea Del Campillo is an authentic, initially slow-burning piece. Carmona’s background as a former Principal of Ballet Nacional de España is evident with his elegant twists and turns as he travels gracefully about the stage before the piece gradually builds up to an explosion of fast and furious footwork that thrills the Sadler’s Wells audience.
The few classical representatives at this year’s Sampled were strong choices. Former Royal Ballet Principal Zenaida Yanowsky’s Dying Swan gave a serene and beautiful display. In a programme largely made up of loud and upbeat performances, Yanowsky held the audience in perfect silence with her melancholy swan, still majestic even in death.
Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Kin is an abstract blend of both classical and contemporary choreography from Alexander Whitley. Danced in pointe shoes, Kin is a physical, earthy pas de deux that explores the relationship between the two dancers. Principals Jenna Roberts and Mathias Dingeman hold an engaging partnership together and show great agility to deliver the more contemporary aspects.
The contemporary additions of Nederlands Dans Theater 2 and Humanhood were less successful in this Sampled platform. NDT2’s Wir sagen uns Dunkles runs for half an hour, essentially a quarter of the programming time. Such a bold decision must feel justified, but unfortunately that was not the case here.
Undoubtedly the NDT2 dancers are supremely talented. This particular piece choreographed by Marco Goecke is full of intensely sculpted and physically demanding moments to a variety of classical and modern music. The company is impressively precise in the wider synchronised sections and charismatic in moments where they are individually able to shine. However, that is not enough to stop this contribution from feeling rather over long.
Similarly, Humanhood’s ZERO was another work lost in translation. This Birmingham based company strive to reach the 'high levels of artistic intricacy, merging energy-shifting sound, light and movement.' The featured choreography is fluid, nearly hypnotic, but sadly the piece is badly lit and on the night felt like one contemporary addition too far.
BBC Young Dancers and contemporary crew, Yeah Yellow, provide some youthful flair with energetic contemporary and hip-hop displays.
Nafisah Baba’s wonderful fluidity and easy technique is a pleasure to see in her solo, Inescapable. Similarly, street dancers Jodelle Douglas and Harry Barnes are great fun in Mass Effect, a short duet in which they battle for dominance over each other through a series of spectacular isolations and jumps.
Sadler’s Sampled, as always, offers mixed styles, not all of which the audience will be familiar with. However, with promenade tickets for as little at £5 this event is very accessible. Whether your preference be ballet or b-boys, you’ll be seeing the best the dance world has to offer.
|What||Sadler's Sampled 2018 Review|
|Where||Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
02 Feb 18 – 03 Feb 18, 19:30 Dur.: 2 hours 30 minutes including one interval
|Website||Click here to book via Sadler's Well website|