acosta danza

Julio Torres and Yanelis Manzanet from the Cuban company, Acosta Daza, bring dance to Birmingham's Grand Central. Pictures: Joe Bailey

Dance: Sampled

Birmingham Hippodrome


IN AN evening that celebrates the best of dance from around the globe, Dance: Sampled gave audiences the opportunity to celebrate the world of dance in an evening that presented pieces from all genres, performed by worldwide companies in a single explosive evening.

The programme is enjoying its second year, and introduced and indeed reminded audience members about the diversity and range of the genre of dance.

Even before the curtain was raised, the audience were treated to showcases of dance by local companies. Every space in the Hippodrome area was filled with impressive samples, from English County dancing to Hip-Hop demonstrations. The companies provided a lively introduction creating a great sense of anticipation for the main performances of the night.

The main programme consisted of seven performances with each piece having a video introduction describing its process and meaning The simple showcase style was executed brilliantly and gave a welcoming feel. The huge variety meant that there was something entertaining for everyone.

Of the seven performances, each carried a unique style. Some companies had histories of performing at the Hippodrome, such as Birmingham Royal Ballet, and others performed welcoming debuts.

The first to be seen was Aakash Odedra Company’s extract from their piece entitled #JeSuis. With a company of dancers from Istanbul, they told the story of oppression and tragedy. With a distinctly eerie feel, the extract of the dance took inspiration from South Asian classical dance styles and gave a thought provoking introduction to the night ahead.

We then sampled a piece from Birmingham Royal Ballet, Lyric Pieces: Phantom commissioned by BRB from American choreographer Jessica Lang in 2012. This was an interesting piece from Birmingham’s own ballet company, introducing the audience to the more contemporary work of BRB and providing a great sample from a wonderfully professional company.

Julia Urruty and Claudio Gonzalez

Julia Urruty and Claudio Gonzalez

Julia Urruty and Claudio Gonzalez gave us two brilliant performances in the programme. The first, La Otra Cara de la Maneda, translated as The Other Side of the Coin, along with Buenos Aires aqui y ahora, meaning Buenos Aires here and now. Through the genre of Tango, the audience saw a fiery flavour of Latin dance, whilst being told stories of passion and indeed humour through their brilliant talent.

The Richard Alston Dance Company gave us Gypsy Mixture in their folk inspired performance. Gypsy Mixture was born ten years ago by Artistic Director Richard Alston and has been revived for the first time since then for the Birmingham stage. This was a happy revival, with a piece that exuded vibrancy and fun with a stellar company of dancers.

After the interval, we saw Acosta Daza’s Derrumbe. The dancers showed styles of both ballet and contemporary to create an expression towards life’s emotions, and the hardships we may face in life. The company is from Cuba and had a Latin touch with music by Eduardo Martin and Ahmed Dickinson. The large company worked marvellously together to create a strikingly artistic piece.

The night also provided us with a solo performance. This was Connor Scott’s White Water. As the winner of BBC Young Dancer of the Year 2015 and having trained in ballet and contemporary dance, Scott gave us his interpretation of the feelings of looking back with nostalgia and explored themes of loneliness in his piece. Scott was bold and unafraid, showing the audience a sample of contemporary dance at its finest.

The last performance of the evening was Sinestesia by Iron Skulls Co. Hailing from Barcelona, they demonstrated a story within the style of contemporary dance about the survivors of a post-apocalyptic world. The company used the entire space to create a dark and empty atmosphere, weaving through the auditorium to create interesting sequences within a new world. In their costume, gas masks were worn, adding a new layer to the story of survival. They were urban and feisty, and were a brilliant and experimental end to the evening’s performances.

Dance: Sampled was a fantastic night, celebrating the best of dance within the city and around the world. It welcomed audiences from every background and gave entertainment to everyone. The uplifting atmosphere and vibrant mood was infectious, and gave way to an amazing night to see the best of contemporary dance today To 04-03-17.

Elizabeth Halpin


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