Theatre Review: Tapeando at Sadler’s Wells

Tap and flamenco dance merge in an explosion of colour in TAPEANDO at Sadler’s Wells theatre in Islington.

TAP and flamenco? Who would have thought that worked?

Well a Catalan company called Tap Ol�, funnily enough, which was co-founded in 2003 by the two lead dancers and choreographers Guillem Alonso and musicians Roger Raventos and Alejandro Perez Gracia.

The idea behind all the tapping and oleing in this London debut is to set tap to the flamenco guitar, and introduce a new set of twists along the way, such as the Catalan rumba and the reinvention of the sand dance, a percussive form of dance that was popular at the turn of the last century.

Rather than ballroom influenced Fred-and-Ginger moves, the company showcase the rhythm tap that came to the fore in the American South in the early twentieth century and put a neglected dance form - well one that has been noticeably absent from Britain’s Got Talent - back on the radar without a shuffle ball change in sight.

An engaging show but whilst the lightning fast feet and gorgeous melodies wowed the crowd, the momentum waned on occasion, and the costumes lacked glamour.

Nonetheless, the infectious enthusiasm and technical flare of the accomplished cast combined with an interesting reworking of dance forms set Tapeando apart. Ol� indeed!

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* Showing at Sadler’s Wells, Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, WC2, until Saturday, May 7.