Are you new to dance and curious about it? Sadler’s Wells Sampled then is something for you: with bite size dance appetisers for all tastes – sweet, sour and savoury – it will allow you to find out if you prefer movement stirred rather than shaken. Should you come early, sipping your cocktail, you can also experience several extra activities beside the show on stage, such as a beatbox showcase, live demonstrations, a dance floor with DJ, an installation, films and even a post show workshop. The evening is a big dance party with the whole building buzzing and dancing.

Wayne McGregor's <i>Outlier</i> © Andrew Lang
Wayne McGregor's Outlier
© Andrew Lang
Starting with sour: Wayne McGregor and his company present Outliner, a work produced in 2010 for the New York City Ballet. Inspired by Bauhaus and minimalism, on music by British composer Thomas Adès, it features McGregor’s modern dance company in Balanchinean costumes. The mostly fast, angular movements typical of McGregor made me think of the sourly Francis Bacon’s distorted portrait rather than the colourful geometries of Josef Albers’ and Barnett Newman’s paintings seen the programme. Moving to the sweet and sour Amor de Tango by Julia Hiriart Urruty and Claudio González. The dance tells the story of an old man’s love for his departed wife. Slowly flicking through the pages and the years of an old album of pictures, he is dancing again with her passionately after a night of love only to find out he was lost in memories. The virtuoso lifts and boleos left you wanting more. The virtuoso streak continues with BBC Young Dancer 2015 winner Connor Scott in the extremely short Get Up. Under the motto, less words more dancing, Scott executes difficult movements with ninja-like fastness and precision. His is a comment on the tendency of mobile phones to distract us from the real lived world. The great and refreshing stage presence and skills compensated for the rather simple choreographic sequence designed only to show off his technique. Refreshing are also the wonderful swirling red rhythms of the other BBC Young Dancer contestant Vidya Patel who closes the act in Khoj – The Search by Sujata Banerjee. Based on North Indian Kathak technique, Patel and co-dancer Jaina Modasia explore how our internal fire sets the energy that drive dance. Performed with live music, the choreography demonstrated more inventiveness with an interesting but too short loop of spoken rhythms by the two greatly skilled dancers.

The 7 Fingers © Alexandre Galliez
The 7 Fingers
© Alexandre Galliez
Act two starts as a white act in a dreamy and other-worldly atmosphere. First are the nocturne acrobatics and juggling by The 7 Fingers (Les 7 Doigts de la Main) . Their sweet extract from the longer Triptyque, takes place in a bedroom where a tiny sleepless, contortionist sits in front of the television. No sooner she falls asleep, four white characters visit her dreams: floating spheres appear and on her nightstand one man perform a breath-taking rotating handstand. The white dream continues with The Royal Ballet principal Zenaida Yanovsky performing Michel Fokine’s The Dying Swan. Possibly the most iconic of the ballet solos, it requires the dancer to glide through the whole sequence on pointes in a continuum of effortless bourrés. Yanowsky succeeded to elegantly fill the transition from acrobatics to pure classical ballet enchanting the dreamy audience. Her interpretation brilliantly captured the refined and delicate essence of the solo. Hiriart Urruty and González' Tango Argentino's come back was saluted almost by stadium chants. Their Decades Tangueras presented a tour of tango throughout the decades with some more passionate and intriguing lifts and more breathtaking dresses. No particular narrative was the motor of this section but the sharp and quick steps juxtaposed to the softness and gliding of their intricate floor pattern were fascinating. Their presence was brilliant but I somehow missed a narrative motivation. The evening ended with some savoury b-boy-ing with The Ruggeds family in Adrenaline. Breathless breakdance acrobatics and floorwork had definitively our full attention, defying gravity as the superheroes flew over chairs and silver inflating balls. Worthy of mention is the splendid end section where the dancers, in cones of lights, were alternately visible and invisible.
Zenaida Yanowsky © Johan Persson
Zenaida Yanowsky
© Johan Persson
This gave an additional rhythm and speed to the movement sequence of jumps and spins carried by the group.

Sadler’s Wells' Sampled, much like the vaudeville shows, appeals to everyone. Its aim (as the introductory short films – very handy – clearly demonstrate) is to bring dance and audience closer. It also wants to showcase what the theatre is going to offer in the coming months. It was generally brilliantly good but as in the vaudeville turns, its extremely heterogeneous structure can be problematic. In this potpourri of aesthetic dreams one has just entered into one that he has to wake up and move somewhere else. It is a bit of an aesthetic shock, but it is worth it.