Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Near Life Experience review at Sadlers Wells London

by -

It’s a game – we see that from two high umpires’ chairs in opposite corners. The dance movements are playful, too, punctuated by moments of strange happenings. Six dancers, for instance, pull faces, collapse, writhe as if poisoned. Two performers wearing wine glasses fixed to their limbs and bodies have a cautious duet. Another couple, almost naked, dance linked by a white cord, its ends held in their mouths, gradually brought closer together. There is a woman on the ground urgently pulling herself up on to the front of her feet. Another woman is pushed about by three men – a second woman approaches quietly until suddenly she is up on their shoulders. Large and small balls of red wool are bowled about and there’s the sequence when two women are lifted as if in jet?s from and to positions on large glass bowls.

Angelin Preljocaj says that in devising this ballet he had in mind moments of trance or fainting, ecstasy and orgasm. Near Life Experience he calls it – and no, that scarcely comes over – but simply as a spectacle it’s enjoyable. Individual performers are not identified but it doesn’t matter, they are all good. They are sort of half-dressed, mostly in skimpy white, by Gilles Rosier.

Music is by the French duo Air – we hear a woman’s lascivious sighs, drumming, a piano solo, a xylophone, machine sounds. Again, an odd mixture, but pleasing enough and it goes with the action.

Production Information

Sadler’s Wells, London , May 20-22

Angelin Preljocaj
Ballet Preljocaj, Aix-en-Provence
Gaelle Chappaz, Leonardo Centi, Craig Dawson, Claudia de Smet, Samir El Yamni, Celine Galli, Emma Gustafsson, Alexandre Nipau, Baptiste Oberson, Zaratiana Randianantenaina, Nagisa Sharai, Yang Wang
Running time
1hr 15mins

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price