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Sadler’s Wells Sampled 2018 – Review

Nafisah Baba
Nafisah Baba

Sadler’s deservedly popular annual show, Sampled returned to a packed and enthusiastic house in London. It’s a showcase opportunity of extract performances by top international and national artists, both established and newcomers, in a variety of dance styles, providing exposure to dance fans of all genres to top work at a reduced ticket price.

The evening started with a strong and absorbing longer form piece performed by ten dancers of the Nederlands Dans Theater, one of the leading contemporary dance companies in the world.

From then on the performances were shorter with the evening progressing apace. The duo of BBC Young Dancer winners, Jodelle Douglas and Harry Barnes were charming and an absolute delight to watch. Nafisah Baba, the other BBC Young Dancer was extraordinary, her narrative about having to choose between netball and dance was unusual but then she started to move. Lithe, powerful and graceful, what a talent she is.

Next was a meditative pas de deux from a new work, Kin, performed by two of the principal dancers of the Birmingham Royal Ballet pushing the discipline of classical ballet to its edge.

After them came Jesus Carmona. The short film in which he described his dedication to his art (his ‘surrender to each movement’) was filmed with him dancing in a blue sea. His accompanying voice on stage, Juan Jose Amador, was sublime, transporting everyone straight to somewhere else, somewhere warm, somewhere very far away from the damp streets of North London. And Mr Carmona is the most wonderful dancer, at the height of his art, in control of the precision of every movement, the Sadler’s audience became vocally appreciative. Not expecting to be a fan of flamenco I was converted. That’s the beauty of Sampled.

And, after all that, it was only the interval. Afterwards two performers and choreographers, Julia Robert Pares and Rudy Coles, of the rising young company, Humanood performed a hypnotic excerpt from their contemporary duet, Zero. Then there was the solo The Dying Swan, performed by Zenaida Yanowsky who described with balletic grace and pathos the end of the beauty that’s life. She was followed on stage by dancers Welly O’Brien and Victoria Fox from Candoco Dance, the leading Company for disabled and non-disabled dancers, performed a fascinating piece describing dependence with pivoting grace.

The evening finished with Yeah Yellow performing the diverse disciplines which is hip-hop dance, an event which was all joy and athletic ebullience. The one woman in this crew of nine, Camille Regneault is a co-founder of the company. On stage she is compelling, reminding of the line from Midsummer Night’s Dream, ‘And though she be but little, she is fierce.’

What an evening of dance.

After London Sampled is touring to The Lowry, Salford, for two performances on Saturday 17 February with additional companies performing. Surely not to be missed.

4 stars

Review by Marian Kennedy

Sadler’s Wells starts the new year with the return of the dance taster festival Sadler’s Wells Sampled, featuring
world-class dance and a series of workshops and foyer activities, on Friday 2 & Saturday 3 February 2018.
The festival gives audiences a chance to experience the broad range of dance presented at Sadler’s Wells at
affordable prices, with proms style standing tickets available for just £5, and all other tickets at £20.

A regular fixture at Sadler’s Wells since 2007, Sampled features a wide variety of dance, from classical ballet to
hip hop, contemporary and flamenco. Alongside the performances, audience members can also participate in an
array of beginners’ workshops throughout the day on Saturday 3 February.

Sadler’s Wells Sampled
Sadler’s Wells, EC1R 4TN
Friday 2 & Saturday 3 February 2018
https://www.sadlerswells.com/

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