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BWW Review: WARRIOR QUEENS // SHADES OF BLUE at Sadlers Wells Theatre

The production ran at Sadlers Wells 6-7 June

BWW Review: WARRIOR QUEENS // SHADES OF BLUE at Sadlers Wells Theatre

Sadlers Wells presents a double bill consisting of work touching on social movement and cultural heritage. Brought to the stage by some of the next generation of leading UK choreographers, Warrior Queens and Shades of Blue are both ambitious pieces of work that really make you pay attention.

BWW Review: WARRIOR QUEENS // SHADES OF BLUE at Sadlers Wells Theatre Presented in a double bill, the first piece, Warrior Queens, expertly interrogates displacement, cultural hybridity, and power. Presented by an all-female, exhilarating dance troupe, with live music from musicians from the Philharmonia Orchestra, the work delves into ancestral history and legacy, taking inspiration from legendary folk myth, Hua Mulan and Orlando.

Olivier Award nominated choreographer, Julia Cheng, draws out powerful performances from the group. There is a sense of gravitas that radiates from the stage. The movement is strong, composed and purposeful. Exploring the duality of yin yang energy, as well as what it means to be a modern-day warrior, the women move as one, whilst also separating to show their individual flourishes. It's an electric, delicious exploration of identity.

BWW Review: WARRIOR QUEENS // SHADES OF BLUE at Sadlers Wells Theatre In the second act, Matsena Productions present their performance protest, Shades of Blue. It is a work that demands change to the system; the group band together to fight against oppression. The works aim seems to make you question your place in society, and uses text alongside choreography to clarify this intention. Unfortunately, in this piece, the vignettes lose an overall cohesion, meaning some of the important points don't always land.

Ryan Joseph Stafford's lighting design is inspired and innovative in its use to tell the story. Anthony and Kel Matsena's piece is a celebratory and urgent one, but only when it's succinct in what it's attempting to say. Some moments linger a little too long, and your attention dwindles, and parts of the direct address to the audience feel at odds with the rest of the dramaturgy.

Whilst Warrior Queens certainly seems a lot more polished, Shades of Blue has many moments that entertain and make you think. Both works make you excited about the future of UK dance.

Photo: Warrior Queens



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