Review: EMPOWER IN MOTION: A BALLET INCLUSIVE, Sadler's Wells

An incredible one-night event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Children Today Charitable Trust

By: Feb. 08, 2024
Review: EMPOWER IN MOTION: A BALLET INCLUSIVE, Sadler's Wells
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Review: EMPOWER IN MOTION: A BALLET INCLUSIVE, Sadler's Wells Empower In Motion was a one-night event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Children Today Charitable Trust. A charity that “provide specialised equipment and care for families across the country that help them to thrive, not just survive”. All proceeds raised will go directly into the charity’s work, so understandably, such a valuable cause garnered a huge amount of support.

The evening was produced by dancers Ross Freddie Ray and Henry Dowden (of English National Ballet), and the description “A Ballet Inclusive” was used as part of the advertising. The programming absolutely offered this featuring work by Stopgap Dance Company, icandance, Propel Dance, Parable Dance and National Youth Ballet (All In! Performance Company collaboration) amongst others. 

The entire evening was a poignant reminder of the power of dance. How it feels to do, and to watch, with all the work exuding expression, joy and freedom, which shouldn't be underestimated.

The first half had six works. We saw seamless partnering by Joseph Powell-Main & Hannah Rudd in Sleepwalker, commanding stage presence by Rebecca Fowler of Propel Dance in the Snow Queen and capable execution by Emile Gooding and Tianie-Finn Grainger, both students of the Royal Ballet School in Ode to a love lost.

Review: EMPOWER IN MOTION: A BALLET INCLUSIVE, Sadler's Wells
Daniil Simkin and Shiori Kase performing an extract of Le Corsaire
(c) Ryan Browne

Both works by Stopgap Dance Company: Tight Textures and Unplugged had strong choreographic structure and ingenuity, using audio description and correlating visual text to take the dance experience to an even higher sensory level. 

Closing the first half was the world premiere of Sebastian Kloborg’s The Owl Falls danced by ballet royalty Maria Kochetkova & Daniil Simkin. Kloborg has created gala material for the 21st century, with the work conveying absurdity, avant-garde, tension and danse d'école exploration rather than relying on predictable technical wizardry. He also plays inventively with light and perspective throughout the entire theatre space, and it will be interesting to see how this work develops over time.

The second half opened with Romeo and Juliet by Parable Dance and National Youth Ballet's ‘All In! Performance Company’ which communicated the narrative power of ballet, as did Giselle performed by ENB's Sangeun Lee & Gareth Haw. The artists proving all that's needed to transcend is emotion and commitment.

Reunion with Alice Bellini (ENB) and Denecia Allen (icandance) was an incredibly powerful duo, with both dancers emanating a sense of connection and expanse through their movement, and following this was another world premiere by (Gala Ambassador) Powell Main, Passionately Defiant, jam-packed with skill and sass.

Closing the night was Le Corsaire with Daniil Simkin and Shiori Kase (ENB), and the crowd pleasing number did exactly that.

Blurb can often be opaque, but for once it absolutely hit the nail on the head: “this gala brings together disabled and non-disabled dancers to tell a moving and inspiring story of unity, resilience and the transformative power of art.”

Amen to that.

You can donate to Children Today’s work here

Main Photo Credit: Jules Renahan



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