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posted by Morning Star in Arts

Natalia Osipova

Sadler's Wells Theatre, London EC1

Classical dancer Natalia Osipova turns contemporary in three works by choreographers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant and Arthur Pita. The results are mixed.

In Maliphant’s Silent Echo Osipova's expressive dance, underpinned by classical technique, has an unexpected impact and beauty. Set to music by Scanner and lighting by Michael Hulls, the choreography gives free rein to Osipova and Sergei Polunin's expression and grace, with Royal Ballet star Osipova igniting the piece with breathtaking hyper-fast pirouettes.

The aftershock extends to Osipova's solo, with deconstructed arabesques, skewed body shapes and, intriguingly, fleeting elements of rave and capoeira.

Polunin’s reciprocating solo unleashes a bewildering array of non-stop aerial turns and twists, before the pair calmly unify.

Silent Echo offers a consummate rendering of fluid modern and classical styles whereas choreographer Cherkaoui's Qutb sees Osipova, with James Kittelberger and James O’Hara, in a state of perceptual conjoined motion.

They create a three-bodied life form, an organism co-dependent on axis points as bodies touch and, to the sound of Sufi vocals from Bulbul Kasidesi, the movements coalesce to transcendental effect. But while Silent Echo hits the mark for dramatic abstraction and pure dance and Qutb offers a solid state of union, in Pita’s Run Mary Run Osipova’s potency is understated.

Dance is replaced by an inconsequential narrative of self-destruction as soil falls and the rope of a swing untwists. Baffling.

Next performances at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, August 12-14, box office:

Review by Peter Lindley