Making Moves – Sadler’s Wells, London

Reviewer: Maryam Philpott

Choreographic Toolkits: Alesandra Seutin, Dannielle ‘Rhimes’ Lacointe, Jordan Douglas and Oona Doherty

Like the National Theatre Connections programme, Sadler’s Wells’ new Making Moves initiative gives groups of students from schools and dance organisations around the country the opportunity to perform on its London main stage in a single night of performances. Attracting 48 entries to this inaugural event, like the National Theatre’s set list of plays, Making Moves provides a digital ‘toolkit’ from four choreographers – Alesandra Seutin, Dannielle ‘Rhimes’ Lacointe, Jordan Douglas and Oona Doherty – leaving the dancers and their teachers to create their own original piece, nine of which were selected for the public showcase.

Divided into two acts, the first five groups were as eclectic in style and tone as they were in visual presentation, but all blended contemporary dance with balletic and occasional hip-hop choices to create unique set pieces lasting up to 10 minutes. 28 Dance Company from Hertfordshire opened proceedings with The Party, a joyful exploration of children’s games including Musical Chairs, What’s the Time Mr Wolf and Blind Man’s Bluff which becomes slowly more sinister – you might even expect Goldberg and McCann to pop in from Pinter to add to the growing menace enhanced by cutesy party dress uniforms and evil giggles that end the piece.

Three performances in Act One presented pack dynamics wrapped in an ominous tone, using mirroring and learning patterns, synchronicity and solos mixed with pairing and trios to create shapes and flow. Obsidian from Norfolk offered Disconnect, a fast-moving examination of social media while Curve Young Dance Company from Leicester presented Endless Cycles, marrying beat, light and smoke effects to think about individuality and chaotic identities. Hampshire Youth Dance Company completed this group with controlled waves of movement in their piece Somewhere in Between that formed rugby scrums crawling across the stage to look at collective thinking.

Some of the big cheers of the night were reserved for the Barbara Priestman Academy from Sunderland which offered some of the best tonal shifts in their study of heroes, moving from light pop to hip-hop and then heightened romance, showing incredible control with a series of acrobatics and held shapes in Cor Bellator. UZAK by Brighton’s Ceyda Tanc Youth Dance certainly matched them for audience reaction with a visually impressive piece that showed the greatest precision of the night, a tightly controlled exploration of relationships with incredible attention to detail.

Image: Jack Thomson

The final three dances in Act Two came from Stockport, Bromley and Somerset each building different energies through their work as the intensity of the music drove the pace of the choreography. Stacked Wonky’s You Don’t Know Either had individual moves and rhythms for each performer, Langley Park School for Boys chose a score inspired by American action movies to create marching beats in their piece Ordinary to extraordinary! while Stockport Grammar School finished the event with their tribute to Greater Manchester, opening with a projected Lowry painting and the sound of rain before concluding with an upbeat celebration of their home county.

In its 30-year history National Theatre Connections can boast many future stars of the industry who have been inspired by taking part in their programme, and, for Sadler’s Wells, Making Moves has the potential to become an important outlet for young dance talent that inspires dance performance around the country. And perhaps some of those future stars were performing at this very opening night.

Reviewed on 9 July 2024

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The Reviews Hub - London

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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