Ballet Nacional de España: Invocación– Sadler’s Wells, London

Reviewer: Alice Kennedy

Director: Rubén Olmo

Invocación truly does invoke an appreciation for Spain’s choreographic history. Opening with a captivating classical score, both haunting and thrilling, the ensemble piece, features the cast in stunning ambers and crimson, symbolising the Spanish countryside.

The solo piece, Jauleña, is performed by a different dancer each night, enrapturing the audience with a blend of percussion and fluidity. It is a mixture of flamenco and contemporary dance, uniquely constructed to introduce an entirely new dance form. The choreographic choice to combine these different styles of dance in a new and exciting mix demonstrates this show’s fulfilled promise of blending traditional and modern dance into something unlike the audience has seen before.

The transitions between each piece are seamless, and excite the audience with what will come next. The ensemble piece, Invocación Bolera, which follows is a whimsical mixture of ballet and traditional bolero, a dance that is an imitation of the movements made by the toreador in a bullfight. This illustrative piece is cast in blue light, giving the dancers a cool hue to suit the mood of the choreography.

The capework is phenomenal and the male ensemble portrays the role of toreadors excellently, while also giving new light with the combination of ballet moves. Similarly, throughout other numbers, we see the use of castanets, a common feature of flamenco. These are used as a way of communication between dancers and give the show the iconic percussive styling of Flamenco. The dancers use the castanets while in duets and ensembles as a way of connecting with each other, displaying the unity of the cast of the Ballet Nacional de Espana.

In Act II, we see a thematic change in Eterna Iberia with the inclusion of cante flamenco ( flamenco singing ) by the musical ensemble. With this backdrop, Act II takes on more of a storytelling element than before and becomes more lyrical in its pieces. A sensual duet featuring the Cordoban sombrero solidifies the show in its background of traditional Spanish culture. The finale is vibrant and joyous and is a celebration of Spanish culture, utilising traditional techniques in creative new ways.

This show outdoes itself in terms of innovation and craftsmanship. The unbelievable talent of the cast highlights the exceptional direction. It is unlike any other dance show, as it unites many styles together to truly celebrate dance as an artform.

Runs until 15 June 2024

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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