Shall we just retire to the lake? ★★★★★
The Three Visions ★★★★★
Sadler’s Wells Young Associates is a brand new programme that aims to support young artists on the cusp of a choreographic career. For this inaugural programme, four were chosen, each allocated a 20 minute slot to make his or her mark on the Lilian Baylis stage.
We’ll start with the second part of the evening, as this contained two meaty pieces which, though not perfect, were interesting enough to lift the spirit after a cooky and at times profoundly annoying first half.
Only 21-years-old, Christopher Thomas already has a wealth of stage experience. He started as an actor before coming to dance – and it shows. A graduate of the Rambert School, and a performer with, among others, the very theatrical choreographer Mark Bruce, Thomas’s piece, The Three Visions, has a clear narrative.
As she faces her self-administered death, a distraught Evelyn is visited by three visions, each representing a mix of memories and what might have been. She engages with them, either lovingly, yearningly or with a rage that at times explodes in a ragged cry. A single violin, played live by Akiko Ishikawa, provides a gentle, haunting score.
Thomas’ choreographic language is contemporary leading straight to Rambert, with added elements of dance-theatre, at times a touch too histrionic; but still, Christopher Thomas is definitely one to watch.
Zimbabwe-born Anthony Matsena presented Tsutseka, a title taken from the Shangani language of Southeast Africa meaning ‘be free’; and his piece was indeed a hymn to freedom, with a score that included Nina Simone’s anthem ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free.’
Matsena was mentored by Russell Maliphant and his influence was clear, particularly in the dimly lit first section where four dancers, including Matsena himself, lie on the ground, arms intermingled and forming an unbroken undulating chain, as a young woman softly chants ‘to be free’.
Tsutseka is divided into sections, some depicting explosions of joy and freedom, others mimicking the submission of chain-gangs, others still a striving for liberation. Matsena’s high-energy language combines a wealth of influences, from contemporary dance to African stomping and slapping, and hip hop, in which he professes a particular interest.
Like many first works, Tustseka is overloaded with ideas, and Matsena will in time learn to trim and focus, but this was a very interesting piece and we can’t wait to see more from him.
The evening opened with Wilhelmina Ojanen’s a quiet hope. Inspired by heavy-going concepts centred on the individual’s power to influence the collective, it starts with four dancers standing motionless in line for what feels like an eternity, then slowly swaying from side to side, and finally slowly walking about and occasionally lifting and carrying one another.
It was all a little dull.
Ruby Portus presented Shall we just retire to the lake? and how this was made to fit into a choreographic evening is anybody’s guess. An overwrought, juvenile and rather unfunny piece of cabaret, where two women pranced about, laughed hysterically and spoke gibberish, but didn’t dance, this is purported to have some kind of feminist message, though if it did, it completely escaped this reporter.
|What||Sadler's Wells Young Associates Review|
|Where||Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Angel (underground)|
09 Oct 18 – 10 Oct 18, 19:30 Dur.: 2 hours inc one interval
|Price||£12 (concessions £6)|
|Website||Click here to book via Sadler's Wells website|