This trio of works uses ballet to highlight important themes but it feels slightly flat.

Credit: Johan Persson

Combining elements of classical ballet but transforming them for a modern audience with contemporary ideas, this carefully curated selection of works is suitably atmospheric and thought provoking – but somehow feels a bit flat and as though it is missing something.

The evening begins with Miguel Altunaga’s City of A Thousand Trades which is described as a love letter to the city of Birmingham. It is filled with a huge variety of stories and one of the most compelling sequences in the dance is the way in which character voice overs describe their story while the dancers convey it through movement. This is such an intriguing idea and it really pays off. However, on the other side of this while Giulia Scrimieri’s set design is intriguing and reflects the industrial side of the city – it feels as though too much time is spent making the dancers move it from position to position. This feels a very sombre piece of work and could use more lightness in it to reflect other aspects of the city.

Taking a more classical approach, Daniela Cardim’s Imminent has a strong focus on the environment and specifically global warming and the uncertainty of what the future holds. There is a real delicacy about the choreography that makes it easy to engage with and react to – through every movement the dancers all give a real sense of urgency and fear about the situation, while Peter Teigan’s lighting design enhances that feeling of drama and tension perfectly towards the end.

The final piece, Chacona by Goyo Montero, is certainly the most complex and physical pieces to be included in the evening – there is virtually no time to breathe as each dancer moves in harmony from one sequence to the next. With the dancers performing black, the lighting is certainly the important element in ensuring that every exquisite movement is highlighted perfectly and really captures the audience’s attention. The choreography works in perfect harmony with the music – showing the great care and attention that has been paid into creating this work. This piece also featured an exclusive pas de deux performed by Carlos Acosta and Alessandra Ferri with some lovely moments in which they are framed by the other dancers – it is one of many memorable moments in this particular dance.

While all of the dances have an elegance to them and performed with great depth and understanding by the dancers, the evening felt a little bit flat overall – which is perhaps down to the seriousness of the themes covered – it would have been lovely to have something slightly more uplifting and hopeful in the mix to get a nice balance of ideas across.

By Emma Clarendon

Curated by Carlos is on at Sadler’s Wells until the 6th November.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐