Tag: Sadler’s Wells

Theatre review: Invocación at Sadler’s Wells

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If ever you wanted to know what an eardrum throbbing 24+ sets of Spanish castanets sound like for an hour, then Rubén Olmo’s “Invocación” at Sadler’s Wells is for you. Performed by Ballet Nacional de España, is an ambitious blend of four distinct pieces that encapsulate the richness of Spanish dance. The evening unfolds with ‘Invocación Bolera’, which revives the 18th-century bolera dance, a fusion of traditional Andalusian folk and classical styles. The opening transports us to a 1920s MGM melodrama with its castanets-led performance and Goyesque costumes. It’s got Hollywood flair that showcases what it is to choreograph en masse. When second performance ‘Jauleña’ begins, there’s dramatic lighting design by Ginés Caballero and Felipe Ramos that highlights the dancers’ movements beautifully. It’s not a purely flamenco rendition and does an alright job of combining styles to a fairly contemporary backing track. ‘Eterna Iberia’ comprises five movements showcasing refined technique with castanets, Spanish capes, and Cordobes hats. The lighting design by Nicolás Fischtel evokes the essence of Degas’ ballerina paintings, while the music by Manuel Moreno-Buendía recalls Manuel de Falla’s El Amor Brujo. Although the costumes by Yaiza Pinillos are fitting and beautiful, the dancers again show their ability to command the stage with choreography that is more an exercise in ‘cape-ography’ and costuming generally. An intermission resets the narrative and in the second half of the show a band appears for ‘De lo Flamenco’, which is a triumph, featuring live music that breathes life into the production and invigorates the performers. Noelia Ruiz delivers… Read More

Experience break dancing like never before this MAy

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Get ready to experience the ultimate celebration of hip hop culture, innovation, and artistry at Breakin’ Convention 2024. An international festival of Hip Hop dance theatre, it’ll be taking over Sadler’s Wells in Islington this coming May Bank Holiday. Enthusiastically helmed by the visionary UK hip hop maker and Breakin’ Convention Artistic Director Jonzi D, this festival has become a beacon for fans and creators of hip hop from around the globe. The excitement is palpable as we gear up for two days packed with jaw-dropping performances, interactive workshops, and live music that promise to electrify the Sadler’s Wells venues on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 May. With an extraordinary lineup featuring international sensations like Femme Fatale (USA), Sons of Wind (France), and Jinjo crew (South Korea), alongside groundbreaking UK acts such as TRAPLORD, Boy Blue, and When Time Was New, this festival is set to showcase the dynamic and diverse world of hip hop dance theatre. Attendees of all ages can look forward to a vast array of activities including spectacular dance performances, bespoke graffiti workshops, freestyle sessions, and even live DJs sessions that guarantee to keep the energy high and the spirit of hip hop alive throughout the entire building. Not to mention, the festival coincides with the historic moment of breaking becoming an official Olympic sport at the Paris Olympics, adding an extra layer of exhilaration to the festivities. Beyond the performances, Breakin’ Convention 2024 invites audiences to engage directly with the hip hop community through unique events such as the Tiny… Read More

For excellent Flamenco, look to Sadler’s Wells

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Step into a world where tradition meets innovation, where old blends seamlessly with new to create something entirely original and electrifying. At Sadler’s Wells, the iconic Paco Peña, accompanied by his talented Paco Peña Dance Company, presents Solera – a captivating production that breathes new life into the timeless art of flamenco. As the evening unfolds, prepare to be mesmerised by a fusion of exceptional music, dance, and passion that transcends boundaries and embodies the essence of human emotions in all their raw beauty. The show opens with a symphony of everyday sounds that seamlessly transform into a vibrant celebration of the human spirit. Take away the traditional red Flamenco dress and imagine you’re in a studio with friends who are just chilling and decide to have a dance. They chat in-between sets, sip water, play on their phones – all normal every day stuff – that plays an insightful and very real backdrop to the magic unfolding in the foreground. From the rhythmic beats of percussionist Julio Alcocer to the exquisite melodies woven by guitars and voices, every moment is a testament to the skill and artistry of the performers. Directed with precision by Jude Kelly CBE, Solera masterfully transitions from the mundane to the magical, immersing the audience in a world of colour, light, and drama that is nothing short of spellbinding. In the second act, the stage comes alive with a spectacle of performance, accentuated by striking costumes and evocative lighting that elevate the talents of the company to new heights. Dancers… Read More

Carmen is coming to Sadler’s Wells in London

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In an event that harmoniously blends tradition with contemporary flair, Sadler’s Wells Theatre unfolds its red carpet for Acosta Danza, as they present the UK premiere of Carlos Acosta’s version of Carmen from the 2nd to the 6th of July, 2024. This adaptation by the dance legend Carlos Acosta gives a new lease of life to Georges Bizet’s opera, stirring the soul nearly two centuries after Prosper Mérimée penned the original story. Carlos Acosta himself steps onto the stage, not just as a creator but as a performer, embodying ‘The Bull’ – a symbol of fate and destiny. This role, specially crafted by Acosta, emerges from his deep-seated desire to encapsulate the essence of the narrative while marking his departure from the Royal Ballet. His rendition of Carmen holds onto the timeless and universal appeal of the tale yet introduces a fresh perspective by minimising the setting to its core elements. Joining forces with Acosta Danza are Principal dancers Laura Rodriguez, Enrique Corrales, and Alejandro Silva, alongside guest stars from the Birmingham Royal Ballet – Yaoqian Shang, Javier Rojas, and Lachlan Monaghan, who will portray Carmen, Don José, and Escamillo, respectively. This cast embodies the spirit of the characters they portray, bringing to life the tragic tale of love, passion, and jealousy. Carmen’s story has always captivated the imagination of many, attracting a variety of choreographers such as Marius Petipa and Roland Petit to its fiery core. The opera’s enchanting melodies like the ‘Toreador Song’ and ‘Habanera’ continue to resonate, underscoring the opera’s enduring popularity… Read More

Hear from New York City Ballet soloist Sara Adams

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The celebrated New York City Ballet (NYCB) is set to make its highly anticipated debut at Sadler’s Wells in March 2024, showcasing an array of works that signal both a nod to its storied past and a leap into the future. Among the slated UK premieres are pieces by the creative minds of Kyle Abraham, Justin Peck, and Pam Tanowitz, alongside a revered classic from the company’s co-founder George Balanchine. This marks a historic moment, as it will be the first time the company has graced a London stage since 2008, during its landmark 75th anniversary celebrations. NYCB stands as a beacon of contemporary ballet, distinguished by its remarkable speed, musicality, and avant-garde style. Founded in 1948 by the legendary George Balanchine and arts patron Lincoln Kirstein, the company has tirelessly pushed the boundaries of ballet into new realms, maintaining its reputation as one of the premiere institutions in the world of dance. Justin Peck’s Rotunda, with its dynamic commissioned score by Nico Muhly and a vibrant ensemble of 12 dancers, embodies the innovative spirit at the heart of NYCB. Peck, who has amassed an impressive portfolio of over 20 works for the company alongside notable external projects, continues to solidify his role as a pivotal figure in modern choreography. Balanchine’s Duo Concertant, a striking duet accompanied by two onstage musicians, revisits the thematic and musical brilliance of Igor Stravinsky, a highlight from the legendary Stravinsky Festival of 1972. Balanchine, a towering figure in 20th-century ballet, leaves an indelible mark on NYCB, ensuring his foundational… Read More

Elixir Festival is on at Sadler’s Wells

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This April, Sadler’s Wells becomes the beating heart of a unique celebration with the return of its much-anticipated Elixir Festival. Over two transformative weeks, the festival will dismantle the preconceptions surrounding dance and age, featuring a blend of performances, workshops, artist talks, and films. With its bold programme, Elixir poses a potent question to the public and the dance community alike: how do we articulate the evolution of our bodies and minds through the art of movement? The festival commences with a triple bill in the esteemed Sadler’s Wells Theatre, including the London premiere of the co-produced common ground[s], a profound duet by Germaine Acogny—often hailed as the ‘mother of contemporary African dance’—and Pina Bausch’s acclaimed associate, Malou Airaudo. This opening act sets the festival’s tone, promising a series of captivating narratives that speak to the essence of our shared human experience. Moreover, the roster features the world premiere of Ben Duke’s whimsically titled a trio for two dancers and a tortoise and concludes with Louise Lecavalier’s Blue, distilling the essence of her acclaimed piece, So Blue, into a striking solo performance. Adjacent to the main stage, the intimate Lilian Baylis Studio will host an exchange of talent and tales between Sadler’s Wells Company of Elders and ZooNation Youth Company. The studio will reverberate with the timeless rhythms of Merce Cunningham’s Story, reflecting the festival’s overarching theme of generational dialogue, while intergenerational duets and intimate explorations into the perspectives on ageing bodies will inject personal narratives into the festival’s artistic discourse. A vibrant contrast to… Read More

Flamenco in London: Paco Peña’s “Solera”

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Flamenco enthusiasts, mark your calendars! Paco Peña, the esteemed flamenco guitarist, composer, and producer, alongside his talented company, is set to grace the stage of Sadler’s Wells Theatre with “Solera” from Wednesday, April 17th to Saturday, April 20th. This highly anticipated return follows the resounding success of its initial run in 2022, promising an enthralling exploration of artistic wisdom and the fearless pursuit of new expression under the guidance of Peña and his long-time collaborator, theatre director Jude Kelly CBE. The heart of “Solera” draws inspiration from the solera system, a traditional aging process for wine hailing from Andalucía in Southern Spain. This fascinating method involves fractional blending, resulting in a beverage that embodies a mixture of ages, with its average age increasing gradually over the years. The term “solera,” meaning “on the ground” in Spanish, refers to the lower level of the barrels used in this process, symbolizing the transfer of liquid from top to bottom, echoing the rich history and evolution of flamenco tradition. At the core of Peña’s spectacle is the celebration of flamenco’s heritage, passed down through generations while embracing new forms of expression. “Solera” brings together both seasoned and emerging talents, uniting young and mature artists, including dancers, musicians, and singers. Witness the mesmerizing synergy as 81-year-old guitar virtuoso Paco Peña performs alongside the innovative young flamenco guitar exponent, Dani de Morón, accompanied by the rhythmic prowess of dancers Angel Muñoz, Adriana Bilbao, and Gabriel Matías, who brings his specialized flamenco expertise from Madrid. The production beautifully captures the essence… Read More

What to see at London’s Sadler’s Wells: INK by Dimitris Papaioannou

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Buckle up for an extraordinary visual journey as Greek director, choreographer, and visual artist Dimitris Papaioannou makes a triumphant return to Sadler’s Wells Theatre. From Wednesday 28 February to Saturday 2 March 2024, be prepared to be mesmerised by the UK premiere of INK. Following the immense success of his sold-out and Olivier-nominated productions, The Great Tamer and Transverse Orientation, Papaioannou once again pushes the boundaries of hyper-visual dance theatre in this captivating new production. Papaioannou is renowned for his mastery in creating breathtaking visual spectacles, and INK is no exception. Set in an enigmatic water world, this spellbinding performance transforms a duet into a duel, driven by mythical primal forces. It’s a gripping battle between old and young, father and son, civilization and wasteland, stewardship and inheritance, and even eroticism and torture. Joining Papaioannou on stage is the talented dancer and collaborator Šuka Horn. With science fiction and horror as its filters, INK will immerse you in a world filled with hundreds of liters of water, a golden wheat field, and even an octopus. In 2018, Papaioannou became the first choreographer to create a new evening-length work for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch since the legendary Pina Bausch’s passing in 2009. He also gained international acclaim for conceiving and directing the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Rooted in painting and visual art, Papaioannou’s productions blur the lines between theatre, experimental choreography, and live performance. Expressing his excitement about INK’s UK premiere at Sadler’s Wells, Dimitris Papaioannou said, “I’m thrilled… Read More