Review of 'Sadler's Wells Sampled (2017)'


We attended the “Sadler's Wells Sampled” event last year (see my review here) and really enjoyed it, so much so that we jumped at the chance to attend again this year. Sadly we did not have as good seats (this time in the top of the balcony in the second last row) but other than a bit of vertigo and heat exhaustion we very much enjoyed the show this year as well. This year we made sure to be at the theatre at just after 6 pm when the doors opened as they had a number of dancing demonstrations in the foyer with the show itself starting at 7:30 pm. We were able to ask questions of a ballerina and took part in an improve dance exercise where a dancer had members of the audience forming obstacles that he had to then dance around (forming a complete sequence at the end of all moves he made from the volunteers).

The show itself featured the following performances:

  • Still (Russell Maliphant Company) - A male dancer performing on the stage in flickering, slatted light beams on the stage joined later by a woman. Amazing looking and captivating as the bodies seem to jerk in black and white with the flickering of the light.
  • I come to my body as a question (dotdotdot dance) - Contemporary flamenco demonstrating their stunning skills. Visually arresting as they form interesting shapes on the stage and dramatically close and expand their fans. Fast sequences of movement followed by slow, considered expression kept us entertained throughout. You could be forgiven for not thinking it is even flamenco.
  • Bayadere - The Ninth Life (excerpt) (Shobana Jeyasingh Dance) - Odd and slightly disturbing modern dance.
  • La otra cara de la Moneda (Julia Hiriart Urruty & Claudio Gonzalez) - A return of the same tango couple from last year performing something that looked very similar to last year, in this piece a larger woman and man demonstrate that no matter what you look like you can make beautiful dance. Interesting but not enthralling.
  • (Interval)
  • Boards & Chains (excerpt from ETM: Double Down) (Dorrance Dance) - Incredible modern tap-dancing with four dancers on wooden boards demonstrating their talent. Sounds great particularly with the rough edge they drag their feet along on occasion.
  • Casanova (excerpt) (Northern Ballet) - Sadly only a short excerpt of only a small ensemble piece (with no view of the amazing makeup and costumes such as those worn by Casanova himself) this was a bit of a disappointment. It was good, however, to see them on the stage this year as last year though billed they were unable to attend the Sampled event.
  • Buenos Aires aqui'y ahora (Julia Hiriart Urruty & Claudio Gonzalez) - A return of the tango couple this time as two people waiting for a bus in the rain that chuck off their rain gear and start dancing…a flight of whimsy and magic. High energy though it did drag on a bit long for my taste.
  • Sinestesia (Iron Skulls Co) - Wow. Modern break dance that breaks the fifth wall as they entered from the back of the stalls in pitch black but carrying torches that randomly turn on and off pointing in random directions. Wearing post-apocalyptic masks, the performers showed incredible acts of agility forming intriguing shapes and was, for me, probably the highlight of the night. Creepy yet captivating at the same time. Full of energy and excitement.

Another great show with only a few acts I did not particularly enjoy. However, as I have said to others, “if you don't like one act wait around for 10 minutes for the next” and here that was definitely the case with more incredible acts than not in the programme. At the beginning of each half a video was shown of each of the performers introducing their work which very much helped in appreciating what was being shown. If you are interested in attending one year my tip would be to pick up the programme as it gives you a lot more information to help you better appreciate what is being shown.

The auditorium was packed and the audience very appreciative. Another great show by Sadler's Wells which will, no doubt, result in many future ticket sales. This effort to bring dance to the masses is admirable and very much a success.


Review Date: 2017-02-04

Sadler's Wells Theatre

Location: London (England)

Address: Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN

Public Transport: TUBE Angel

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7863 8000


Sadler's Wells is best known for hosting dance events. The main venue, “Sadler's Wells Theatre”, is very contemporary but can be crowded with limited staircases. Transport is also often an issue as it is a bit of a walk to the nearest tube station (TUBE Angel).