Dance Review: Voices of America at Sadlers Wells

Voices of America Aaron Robinson

Voices of America Aaron Robinson - Credit: Archant

Five star review for English National Ballet’s showcase of American dance

Voices of America

Sadlers Wells


Voices of America was devised by ballerina Tamara Rojo, English National Ballet’s Artistic Director, to showcase the “dynamism and energy” of American neo-classical ballet.

In this Rojo has succeeded brilliantly: the programme could not be more varied, exciting and energetic.

Four ballets featuring three different choreographers represent the past, present and future of ballet.

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Jerome Robbins, best known for West Side Story, created The Cage(1951) set to Stravinsky’s whirling Concerto in D. Crazed wild haired female insects prey on their male counterparts. Jurgita Dronina as The Novice danced a breathtaking and terrifying duet with James Streeter.

In Aszure Barton’s Fantastic Beings (2016) some 20 strange beasts in slithery costumes gather by moonlight and gradually evolve from frog-like to ape-like creatures.

The dancing is impressive and Barton wants the audience to have its own response to the music and dancing rather than spell out what they should think about.

The distinguished choreographer William Forsythe has two pieces in the program: the first, Approximate Sonata 2016 is a series of five intricate pas de deux, with very much a rehearsal feel to them, set to electronic music, but Thom Willems. Alina Cojocaru looked as beautiful as always and danced exquisitely, partnered by Joseph Caley.

But it’s Forsythe’s brand new offering Playlist (Track 1, 2) his first creation for a British ballet company in over 20 years, that literally brought the house down. It’s 10 minutes of classical workout by 12 hugely energetic men, all dancing their socks off to some great American pop (Surely Shorty by Peven Everett and Lion Babe’s Impossible, the Jax Jones remix). Amidst breathtaking jetes and pirouettes the dancers looked as if they were having the best fun... and so was the audience.

Voices of America runs at Sadlers Wells until April 21.