Sadler’s Wells Sampled review by Emily Baxter-Derrington, The 730 Review.
Sadler’s Wells Sampled is a unique festival, showcasing a wide variety of dance styles, and offers a sneak peak at some of the works to be featured later in the season. An interactive evening, where dance leaks from the stage to the foyer, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
The first performance of the evening came from Uchenna Dance, a contemporary company whose piece ‘The Head Wrap Diaries: Fierce and Free’ certainly got the audience into the festive spirit. Traditional African dance styles – including waacking – blended seamlessly with more contemporary moves to create a piece that felt both transportive and familiar. The Afro House music perfectly complemented the choreography, establishing a club-style atmosphere among the audience. The use of head scarves (the key prop in the piece) was both daring and perfectly executed, with transitions from head pieces to skirts made to seem as simple as breathing. The dancers maintained cohesion throughout the piece whilst each adding their own unique flavour to the choreography. The Head Wrap Diaries lifted the spirits of all watching and provided the perfect opening to the evening.
“Their playful and sometimes contentious interactions felt at once both performative and deeply private…”