Sadler's Sampled - Made at Sadler's Wells: Afterlight (Part One)/ Faun/ UNDANCE, Sadler's Wells - reviewed on 23rd June
Watch dance from the front row for £8 you say? I'm there!
Welcome to Sadler's Sampled, a series of short taster dance performances at bargain prices. With standing places in the stalls for under a tenner (making the feeling more like a music gig than a usual theatre show) and numerous free related activities, it's well worth a visit to try something new.
Commencing the two-week Sampled season was a triple bill of works, all created at Sadler's Wells by renowned contemporary choreographers. This opened with Russell Maliphant's award-winning Afterlight (Part One), a stunning 15 minute solo. Inspired by the drawings of Vaslav Nijinsky, the male dancer spun rapidly and beautifully in a small pool of light, as if spontaneously compelled to move by the sublime piano sounds of Erik Satie.
Next was Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's less impressive duet, Faun, based on the famous ballet, L'après-midi d'un Faune. Whilst it had some interesting moments, I failed to understand or appreciate the odd relationship between the two dancers.
Completing the bill was UNDANCE, performed by Wayne McGregor | Random Dance. In trademark McGregor style, the work featured numerous spine ripples, neck protrusions and athletic leg lifts. Against a fascinating backdrop of the dancers filmed performing the same choreography, sometimes ahead of and sometimes behind the movement onstage, the work was intricate and engaging, but overly long.
While obviously not all of the works were to my taste, I'm glad I went to the bill. How can I complain when I saw a three cutting-edge choreographies up close for so little money? I think Sadler's Wells is onto a great idea - maybe it's time for ballet companies to offer taster menus of their repertoire to attract new audiences.