The Thread at Sadler’s Wells
Renowned choreographer Russell Maliphant and Oscar-winning composer Vangelis have set themselves the challenge to take traditional Greek dance and catapult it onto a contemporary stage. The two artists deconstruct the movements and sounds that are part of the Hellenic heritage and re-piece them together with new, modern components added to them. Removed from their social context, the tribal characteristics of the group dances become pronounced. When the dancers move to repetitive beats in semi darkness, the celebratory dances seem ritualistic, while the contemporary elements bridge the gap between past and present.
The dancers form fluid moving patterns that are mesmerising and succeed in evoking an ancient quality that transcends time. The music then takes the audience from soft melodies to rhythmic sounds and back again, showcasing the group’s different abilities (12 dancers have a contemporary background, while six are traditional dance performers).
The show is comprised of a series of routines, some performed by the whole ensemble, others by the male dancers, including some high-energy line dancing, and other more lyrical pieces are presented by a group of female performers or as intimate solos or duos. The final piece is very powerful as it sees an alternation of dancers travelling across the stage with flowing floor sequences, while others line dance the traditional way following the same illuminated path, all to a compulsive beat and a crescendo of dynamism. While the finale is a great culmination of the juxtaposition explored throughout, there is no sense of progression during the rest of the show and no feeling of undertaking a journey, as each piece seems to stand alone.
The title of the show refers to the connection between past and present and between different cultures and styles. Some sequences do portray the overlapping of these effectively, but the fusion of all the different elements is not always done to the full potential, which results in some passages being more compelling than others.
The Thread is at Sadler’s Wells from 15th March until 17th March 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.