Ballet With An American Accent Comes To Sadler’s Wells

English National Ballet in Playlist. Image: Laurent Liotardo

English National Ballet’s Voices Of America triple bill at Sadler’s Wells brings together three iconic New York-based modern ballet choreographers.

Jerome Robbins’ The Cage and Aszure Barton’s Fantastic Beings share an animalistic physicality; Robbins’ piece, the oldest in the programme, pits fourteen predatory insectoid females against two hapless males. Barton’s 2016 work, brings the whole company together in a celebration of pondlife; the energetic piece is set to a fantastically cinematic score by Mason Bates, but lacks Robbins’ economy and rather runs out of steam after twenty minutes.

The real draw is two new works by the celebrated William Forsythe, including the world premiere of Playlist, the first piece made on a British ballet company in over twenty years. Technical, concept-driven Forsythe isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea, but the company attacks Approximate Sonata 2016 with verve and gusto. The all-male Playlist, set to the funk-soul stylings of Peven Everett and (implausibly) a club banger by Jax Jones, brings out the men of the company in strutting, hip-swivelling, quad-pirouetting force. Without a doubt it is the most actual fun we can remember a company having with Forsythe, and reason alone to check out this mixed bill.

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