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Review of Sadler’s Wells Sampled

Sampled at Sadler's WellsSadler’s Wells’ dance taster festival returns for two nights only, giving audiences a chance to experience a sample of the upcoming season. From contemporary dance to b-boying, it’s an opportunity to see a sprinkling of the best dance talent around, and there really is something for everyone. Sadler’s Wells is always buzzing on a show night, but this weekend it is more than ever, with live demonstrations of an ‘A-Z of dance’ in the foyer.

Kicking off the programme is Company Wayne McGregor, performing an extract from their namesake choreographer’s 2010 work Outlier. The work was originally choreographed on the New York City Ballet, and it’s interesting to see contemporary dancers now performing it – the balletic element is obvious, but the dancers’ beautiful fluidity is far from the structured forms of classical ballet. Showcasing three segments from the show, it’s a spellbinding, intricate work with layerings of music and movement that at times have your eyes flitting from one side of the stage to the other, trying to catch the details of every dancer at once. A duet between Travis Clausen-Knight and Daniela Neugebauer stands out for gorgeous lines and liquid-like fluidity, but the whole company excel and prove a strong start to this eclectic evening.

Both the runner-up and winner of the BBC Young Dancer feature; the former, Vidya Patel, presents ‘Khoj – The Search’, a dynamic performance that was my first experience of watching kathak dance. Yet Connor Scott, winner of the competition, seems under-served by his piece. ‘Get Up’ intends to present a message about turning your back on social media and living in the real world, yet it feels as if Scott has been given this theme simply because he is young, and therefore it’s ‘relevant’. The piece itself feels cut short before it’s got going, and while Scott is no doubt a talented dancer, this performance falls very short of showcasing his talents effectively.

Due to injury, Northern Ballet were unfortunately unable to perform; however, this meant audiences were treated to the unexpected delight of ‘The Dying Swan’, performed by Zenaida Yanowsky, principal of the Royal Ballet. Presenting probably the most famous ballet solo in history, Yanowsky transfixed the audience with her beautiful, delicate performance to Camille Saint-Saens’ instantly recognisable score – a magical moment. Demonstrating the broad eclecticism of the evening, we are soon watching a Dutch b-boy crew – The Ruggeds – who shift the atmosphere of the room instantly. The theatre seems to shake with the pulsating bass, and the crew’s incredible tricks are a hit with the audience. Yet as a whole routine, ‘Adrenaline’ begins to drag and the ensemble choreography in between the individual tricks fails to light up the stage in the same way. It’s a fun taster, but I wouldn’t be tempted to see the whole show, as is partly the point of this evening’s showcase.

Undoubtedly stealing the show, however, are tango dancers Julia Hiriart Urruty and Claudio Gonzalez. Having wowed with two routines in Act I, they return after the interval with extracts from Decades Tangueras, which showcases the dance form’s development over time. Their sizzling chemistry, exciting lifts and beautiful lines create an engrossing performance that certainly inspires and engages the enthusiastic audience.

Sadler’s Sampled is an unbeatable way to see so many different styles of dance in one night. Videos interspersing the pieces give an insight into their creation and their performers, and the mood of the evening is one of both mutual respect and excitement at the talent that this venue continues to draw. With all tickets a maximum of £15, it’s a must for dance fans and a brilliant way for newcomers to get into the art form.

4 stars

Review by Laura Peatman

Sampled is a chance for dance fans and newcomers alike to enjoy a diverse range of styles from some of the world’s finest dancers at a specially reduced price.

A regular fixture at Sadler’s Wells since 2007, Sampled features a wide variety of dance, from classical ballet to hip hop, contemporary and tango, alongside workshops and events taking place throughout the building.

Shows in Sadler’s Wells Sampled
Wayne McGregor – Outlier, choreographed by Wayne McGregor

Duets danced by Julia Hiriart Urruty and Claudio González

Connor Scott – winner of BBC Young Dancer 2015, Solo, Get Up

Vidya Patel – finalist of BBC Young Dancer 2015, Duet, Khoj –The Search

Contemporary dance and circus
The 7 Fingers – extract from TRIPTYQUE, Nocturnes, choreographed by Marcos Morau

Zenaida Yanowsky – Principal of The Royal Ballet, The Dying Swan, choreographed by Michel Fokine

Hip Hop
The Ruggeds – world champion b-boy crew, Adrenaline
Sadler’s Wells
Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R
29 & 30 Jan 2016


2 thoughts on “Review of Sadler’s Wells Sampled”

  1. Really disappointed by your comments regarding Connor Scott. I’ve seen him perform ‘Get Up’ and love it and it’s had hundreds of views on Youtube. For me, the energy of the music, plus the elegance and fluidity of Connor’s dancing and his unique stage presence combine to make an electrifying performance. If you had done your research you would know that Connor, despite being the youngest competitor in BBC Young Dancer at just 16 when he took part in the contemporary finals and only just 17 when the grand final took place in May of last year and not having even started vocational training, won the title by dancing ‘Get Up’, alongside two other pieces. The judges included Matthew Bourne, Tamara Rojo and Wayne McGregor. Despite his age and lack of experience, Scott had choreographed the piece himself and it was, of course, time limited to suit the demands of the competition. He only started vocational dance training in London in September of last year and obviously doesn’t have a repertoire of dances to choose from or choreographers to call on when he is asked to appear in shows such as Sampled (which is an incredible honour and opportunity for a young dancer). I think, therefore, that it’s extremely harsh to judge him on the same criteria as that applied to established dance companies and fully trained artists. He is, quite simply, an amazing talent who lights up the stage with his presence and that talent needs to be nurtured and supported. I suggest you look at ‘Blood snow’ on Youtube, another of the dances he performed in the final of BBC Young Dancer of the Year – it’s a quite incredible duet he co-choreographed.

    1. Hi Izzy,

      Thanks for your comment. I would like to point out that I have in fact “done my research” (a big assumption your part, I feel) and am very aware of Connor’s background, training, the Young Dancer competition, its judging panel etc. As I said, I do believe Connor is a talented dancer and this was evident on the night, but for me the choreography did not show him off to his best (particularly when placed alongside Vidya Patel’s performance, also from the Young Dancer competition). I think it’s clear from my review that I was not criticising Connor as an artist, just disappointed in the work that was presented. Of course opinions on artistic performances are affected by taste and I’m glad you enjoyed Connor’s performance. I hope to see more of his dancing in the future, when hopefully I will enjoy the work more.

      I hope this clarifies my comments for you.


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