Sadler’s Sampled is now a well-established addition to the Sadler’s Wells programme, bringing dance fans young and old, balletomanes and b-boys, into the same world for two nights only. This year’s offering is a spectacular showcase of dance genres. The programme is skilfully put together: whether contemporary or hip-hop, each performance is accessible and bite-sized enough to be enjoyed by all.
My heart was stolen by tango dancers Julia Hiriart Urruty and Claudio Gonzalez. These two bring an intensity and chemistry to their performances that is quite untouchable. Their Act Two tango Decades Tangueras is all fast footwork, clean lines, drops and jumps, all enough to make your jaw drop as we are taken on a journey of tango through the decades. They possess a special magnetism that draws them together and leaves the audience engrossed.
Sadly due to injury Northern Ballet were unable to perform 1984, which premiered last year. This meant, however, that we were treated instead to Royal Ballet principal Zenaida Yanowsky performing The Dying Swan (choreographed by Michel Fokine). Yanowsky uses every sinew of the music, the shaping of her arms perfectly echoing the swan’s melancholy wings. It’s a rarity to see a tutu on the Sadler’s Wells stage, but the audience lapped it up. I doubt even the most diehard b-boy could question the beauty of Yanowsky’s perfect swan.
Company Wayne McGregor opened the evening with Outlier, a work first choreographed by McGregor in 2010 for the New York City Ballet. Outlier is an incredibly rich, intricate work that looks to reflect the nuances of the music with a complex and multi-layered choreography. McGregor leaves the audience to absorb the work in their own way; there is too much to take in on a single viewing, with dancers breaking off from the main group, making it all the more engaging. The piece’s balletic roots are obvious and it is all the more enjoyable for them, with the company dancers’ effortless athleticism and stunning extension meaning they are able to show this off to the full extent.
The evening features two competitors from 2015’s BBC Young Dancer competition: contemporary dancer (and winner) Connor Scott and kathak dancer Vidya Patel. Scott’s much anticipated solo, Get Up, is based on a concept of taking a moment to turn your back on social media and technology and live in the moment. The piece starts strongly as Scott manipulates his body impressively and his movements are powerful and unapologetic. However, the number is cut short when the audience are just warming to the up-tempo number. Scott is clearly multi-talented but this piece doesn’t show him to anywhere near his full potential. Patel’s duet with Jaina Modasia is a stylish and lyrical piece whose duration is long enough to tell the full story. The pair perform it with maturity and elegance that is visually stunning.
The highs of Yanowsky and the tango dancers are followed by b-boy dancers The Ruggeds with Adrenaline. It’s a well-constructed piece that’s accessible to a wide audience. Once the tricks and jumps have been seen, however, the piece does not offer much more and at a running time of 22 minutes, cutting it down by seven or eight would have made the overall impression a lot sharper and less of a drag.
Sadler’s Sampled played at Sadler’s Wells on 29-30 January. For more information see the Sadler’s Wells website.