Turn It Out with Tiler Peck & Friends ★★★★★ Sadler's Wells Theatre | March 9 - 11, 2023

There are four parts to this delightful evening of dance, and while each has a somewhat different tone, they work together to reflect a unifying vision. The show opens with "Thousandth Orange" choreographed by Tiler Peck and taking its inspiration from still-life paintings. Artfully designed like all great examples of the genre, it forces us to look at what we think we know and to see it with new eyes. The choreography is endearing rather than insistent, and the dancers are pastel images of quiet contemplation. The dance palette explored has some beautiful moments. The next offering, the pas de deux "Swift Arrow," by Alonzo King takes its inspiration from the Upanishads and the contemplative mood is now extended to a meditation on "the soul's desire to merge into oneness." Dancing to Jason Moran's ethereal sound, Tiler Peck and Roman Mejia are quite flawless, becoming a beautiful expression of Yeats' famous line "How can we know the dancer from the dance?" The next piece "Time Spell" takes the search for a sense of underlying unity to an exploration of two apparently very different dance genres. Tiler Peck and her fellow choreographers, Michelle Dorrance and Jillian Meyers, create unforgettable images as they reveal the intersectionality of tap and ballet. For us, this was the apex of an evening with many high points. The merging of the two dance genres with words and music creates a rhythmic exchange that is mesmerising. The tap work is breathtaking and the pointe work is unparalleled. The final piece of the evening, "The Barre Project, Blake Works II," stands apart and takes us back to origins. During lockdown the work began as a Zoom collaboration with choreographer William Forsythe. Out of those dark times of separation came this work, celebrating both the dancer and the dance, while reflecting the joy and sense of community they can inspire. This is a piece that highlights the art and the artist's ability to create transcendent experiences. Turn It Out with Tiler Peck & Friends certainly qualifies.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Christopher Duggan.

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