03 February 2018 (released)
06 February 2018
Sampled returned to Sadler's Wells this weekend, showcasing a variety of dance from classical ballet to hip hop, contemporary and flamenco. There was an incredible variety of performers, with each piece introduced by a short film featuring interviews with the dancers.
The first piece, Wir Sage nuns Dunkles by Nederland Dan Theater 2, was a complex, mesmerizing piece. The dancers' movements were impossibly fast giving a dream-like stop frame animation effect. We were then entertained by two pieces from the BBC Young Dancer competition. First up, a lighthearted popping piece by Jodelle Douglas and Harry Barnes. Next, the overall winner of the competition, Nafisha Baba, danced with liquid limbs and seemed utterly unencumbered by gravity.
The Birmingham Royal Ballet then showcased perfected classical technique, with an earthy, slow and supremely effortless performance of the pas de deux 'Kin'. The first half closed with the incredible Jesus Carmona, one of the National Ballet of Spain's principal dancers. His feet created gunshot-like clicks and stamps in a rapid, rhythmic tattoo whilst his singer and guitarist completed the flamenco soundscape.
During the interval, the audience could enjoy salsa dancing and virtual reality experiences based on Alexander Whitley's 8 Minutes. The second half started a little slowly with Humanhood's 'Zero'. The moments towards the end of the piece where the two dancers responded to each others' bodies rather than mirroring the movements were by far the most engaging. Zenaida Tanowsky, former principal dancer with the Royal Ballet, performed a sublime Dying Swan. Her arms became supple wings and her neck long, graceful and birdlike.
Welly O'Brien and Victoria Fox, Candoco dance company, worked seamlessly together in their piece that explored the bonds women make throughout their lives. Indeed the dance showed unflinchingly the support the women needed from and gave to each other.
For the finale, the mood changed entirely as Yeah Yellow bounced onto the stage and this was the highlight of the evening. On a grey, cold evening deep in the middle of winter, their bouncy teamwork and virtuosic moves were a bright and refreshing tonic.