Dance Sampled

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Returning to The Lowry for a second year, Dance Sampled, a partnership programme between The Lowry, Sadler’s Wells and Birmingham Hippodrome, offers audiences an opportunity to see world class performers in an accessible and an affordable way in this dynamic, engaging & wonderfully varied celebration of dance in all its forms.

Transforming not only the Lyric theatre but the entire building into a vibrant hub of performance, Dance Sampled delivers not only a spectacular dance showcase but also introductory classes to several genres of dance from salsa to lindy hop as well as various drop-ins, post show discussions and even an chance to create your own unique signature dance move, it really is a day of discovery. The Salford quays venue was quite literally buzzing with movement and opportunity from the moment you stepped through The Lowry doors with its extensive and well planned programme of activities.

With an incredibly eclectic range of styles on offer, Dance Sampled strives to make dance more accessible and inclusive for all. Each of the 8 pieces in the main show are introduced by a short and beautifully crafted film, in which performers and creatives give clear and engaging information about the piece they are about to deliver. They also discuss their passion and love for their chosen form of dance, their drive, creativity and offer an insight into what dance means to them.

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First up is the powerful and dynamic Uchenna Dance ‘The Head Wrap Diaries’, bursting with style and colour the all female troop were bold and rhythmic as they moved across the stage incorporating the wrapping and unwrapping of striking head wraps which are used creatively to take on the form of scarves, dresses, shawls and capes through this expressive and empowering piece.

Next we se Nafisah Baba, winner of 2017 BBC Young Dancer who performs ‘Near the place where your feet pass by’, fluid and contemporary, she is a perfect example of how engaging and entertaining a solo performer can be.

Third on the bill is a stunning performace from Scottish Ballet who treat audiences to the famous Grand pas de deux from The Nutcracker. Bethany Kingsley Garner and Evan Loudon glide effortlessly across the stage in a stunning display of strength, poise and elegance.

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Following on from the ballet is Humanhood with their contemporary and highly charged exploration into the connection between physics and dance they excite and engage in their highly physical and visually striking piece.

Final act before the interval is the internationally renowned flamenco bailaor Jesús Carmona. Passionate and proud Carmona thrills the audience with a preview of his full show, ‘7 Balcones’ which can be seen at the Lowry on 26th February.. Accompanied by singer Juan José Amador and Spanish guitar specialist Dani Jurado, Carmona’s performance is electric, full of passion, proud gesturing and Latin heat.

Act II offers three further pieces, all enormously different from the last. Opening with Far From The Norm and their piece 60 Secs, extremely physical and theatrical mixing hip hop with more contemporary styles this expressive piece is fast, thrilling and a whole lot of fun.

Next up is an absorbing and highly original piece from Scottish Ballet, the male duet from Sibilo is a playful and powerful celebration of dance as the two male performers deliver a witty and light piece using a suit jacket as their only prop.

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Ending the show is a contemporary and quirky performance from Gandini Juggling entitled Smashed, showing dance comes in many forms, the piece incorporates juggling, a heck of a lot of apples, several dinner services and nine performers, it soon becomes a tea party like no other!

Dance Sampled is a joyful celebration of dance in all its forms, an incredible opportunity to explore the diversity of world-class dance in an accessible and exciting way. With so much to discover we’re already counting down to Dance Sampled 2019!

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dance-2In Dance Sampled, we are witness to ten minute extracts of dance from companies in genres including Flamenco, Tango, Contemporary, Ballet and Break. This example of how to see dance and also how we can become audiences of dance is a really interesting and intriguing one.

Delivered by The Movement, a collaborative from Birmingham Hippodrome, Saddlers Wells and The Lowry, all are committed to bringing a new wave of watching, focussing on accessibility and inclusivity. The collection of work is an exceptional evening of dance from 8 dancemakers who enthral the audience. It is wonderful to see that the audience present matches the variety and diversity of the performances in a packed out Lyric theatre.

Before each performance we’re introduced to the work with a projected interview on stage with the performers or choreographer. This is insightful, it lands the work for the audience and magnifies the eloquence of language we have for the variety of performances we are celebrating.

Flamenco trio dotdotdot open the evening with flamenco collaborations in a sublime cacophony, fan opening across live guitar across vocals from Javier Ribera across dancers beating through canons of dance from the determined trio and layered with lyrics from spoken word artist Toni Stuart, magnificent!

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BBC Young Dancer of the Year 2015, Conor Scott holds the centre of the evening with a majestic physicality, presence and creativity. His original piece is a wonderful exploration of loneliness, nostalgia and joy.

The audience welcome the essence of purity in The Faun danced beautifully by Yanelis Godoy and Julio Torres, choreography by Sidi Larbi, Cherkaoui originally danced by James O’Hara & Daisy Philips with Music by Claude Debussy and Nitin Sawhney.

The evening culminates in a daring performance by bgroup The Ruggeds from Holland dancing with skills that I have never experienced before, they’re pushing boundaries, skating across the floor in inversions, twisting in the air with raw energy and landing like tigers. The have a capacity for danger and play, a really exciting performance.

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The dancers and the dances throughout this evening have an extraordinary flare and each have a really unique talent, which makes the evening a real spectacle. The beauty of this project lies not only in the stunning performances but the accessibility of it, the highly engaging bite-sized excerpts give audiences a chance to experience a broad range of dance at affordable prices, with tickets available for just £15. In addition to this audience members were also invited to participate in a wide variety of workshops activities within the theatre foyer across the two day stay, an enormously engaging evening and a great opportunity to experience all dance has to offer. Highly recommended.

Guest reviewer: Kate Jackson