Theatre Review: Sampled

Sadler’s Wells dance showcase SAMPLED sees five companies perform ballet, modern dance and hip hop, and promises a tantalising season at London’s premier dance venue in Islington.

SAMPLED is Sadler’s Wells annual showcase of the best of its upcoming season - and the well-loved fixture is now in its fifth year.

An eclectic mix of companies perform a single work, this year ranging from ballet to contemporary dance and hip hop.

The range of dance is perhaps less diverse than in previous years, and khaki costumes and writhing floor-work will be 2011’s dance buzz words if Sampled is anything to go by. But far from being a let down, the beautifully selected programme promises a tantalising season to come.

The Balletboyz perform exquisite pas de deux and ensembles to twangy folk, echoing stones gently thrown in shallow waves, and proving guys are not just there to do the lifting in ballet. Meanwhile American Ballet Theatre move back to more traditional territory performing Balanchine with fine technique, full of spring bounce and with enchantingly cheeky accents.

A gothic green forest is the setting for Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s re-imaging of Nijinsky’s famous ballet Faun. As dawn breaks two young fauns frolic in entwined abandon in a splendid display of parallel, primordial dance, full of stretch and athleticism. Like constantly morphing tetris blocks the bodies merge together in the wilds.

And tumbling modern dance is set to pounding heavy metal in Global Dance contest winner James Wilton’s throbbing dance fight of a work.

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But the most commercial offering of the night looks set to be this season’s hit. ZooNation’s Some Like It Hip Hop unveils its own unique brand of addictive geek chic hip-hop, with slapstick references, American high school setting, and oodles of electric dance.

The programme points to another storming season at London’s premier dance venue.

* Showing at Sadler’s Wells in Rosebery Avenue, EC1.