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'A Quiet Evening of Dance', Sadler's Wells Theatre

4 October 2018 - 6 October 2018


In “A Quiet Evening of Dance”, William Forsythe takes the audience on a playful exploration of dance and style with a blend of former pieces and creations.

Self-identified as “a native ballet speaker”, Forsythe demonstrates once a gain his wit in deconstructing its language and gracing it with new accents. While figures of the baroque origin of ballet are combined with the introduction of break-dance on stage; Forsythe brings 17th and 21st century dance together. Bouncing from classical vocabulary to hip-hop, he cleverly choreographs a flickering relationship between them, consisting of echoes, incorporations and even light-hearted confrontations.

The theatre’s lights remain on during the first part of the evening, which begins suddenly when two dancers appear on stage. With music sounding like a peaceful afternoon, and lights out only seconds before intermission, the first part recalls a rehearsal where dancers decipher and deconstruct movement.

Didactically engaging the audience, fundamentals of ballet’s vocabulary are displayed by Jill Johnson and Christopher Roman in Catalogue, second edition: two shoulders and a pair of hips draw horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines displaying the basis of ballet’s traditional haut-du-corps work. Yet, the dancers explore beyond the confines of the rules, twisting the lines and unveiling the choreographer’s 40 year-long exploration of movement. His masterful sketching of bodily forms is regularly hinted at by costumes highlighting the dancers’ extremities with bright colours. And once Parvaneh Scharafali gracefully pauses for an attitude, the exceptional fluidity of the movement on display is suddenly revealed.

Prologue and Epilogue, which frame Catalogue, delicately introduce break-dancer Rauf “Rubberlegz” Yasit to the stage who slowly infuses tonight’s new works with hip-hop. Movements of the contemporary style are, at first, softly – and nearly imperceptibly – included in the choreography.

The evening goes from strength to strength with Seventeen/Twenty One, a thrilling and humorous dance delight, which brings a brilliant end to the evening. All dancers show exceptional virtuosity and precision, Rauf “Rubberlegz” Yasit smoothly blending in with Forsythe’s seven long-time collaborators, often bringing the audience to laughter, surprise and awe. The last piece delivers a fascinating chronological mix where styles richly interact with each other, confirming once more William Forsythe’s incredible intelligence and his continued ability to enrich ballet today.

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