Savion Glover @ Sadler’s Wells Review

When you think of Tap Dance, the likes of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire are probably the first names to pop into your mind; two dancers definitive of an era, the Golden age of Hollywood. A dance form associated with the early to mid 20th century, it’s easy to believe that it’s of the past and only assigned to Broadway and West End Musicals…

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Fast forward to 2014, and Savion Glover‘s SoLe Sanctuary transports tap into the 21st Century. Attributed for his contribution to the art form, Glover is renowned for his rhythmic interpretations, keeping the spirit of Tap alive. Having enjoyed a career that has spanned over three decades, career highlights have included dancing alongside the legend that is Sammy Davis Jr and becoming a Tony Award winner for his Tap inspired musical, Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk. A throwback and acknowledgement of the influential tap dancers that have guided Glover throughout his extraordinary career, SoLe Sanctuary showcases the cathartic power of the art form.

Continuing the tap dancing lineage, SoLe Sanctuary appreciatively kept a foot in the past, as the images of tap dancing greats adorned the stage. Simplicity was key, as the minimalistic staging comprising only of a wooden platform allowed for Glover to take centre stage. With images of the likes of Sammy Davis Jr and his mentor Gregory Hines over seeing the production, Glover channelled the footsteps that had tapped before him. Creating a patchwork of rhythms that quilted the alter on which he stood, Glover effortlessly transformed into a living breathing sound system, from the bass tones of his stamps to the light and sharp tones of his tap steps.

Joined by Marshall Davis Jr, moments of calm were seamlessly replaced with synchronised choreography. The pair effortlessly mirrored each others movements; a nostalgic reference to the tap dancing routines of yesteryear.They both established a dialogue with their foot work as the choreography took on the form of a battle, a friendly call and response as each dancer lay down the foundations for the next to continue the sequence. Taking on a ritualistic narrative, routines were made even more impressive by the fact that both Glover and Davis Jr showcased their routines with their eyes closed, a testament to their expertise and the spiritual nature in which they presented the performance. Together, they established an atmosphere of rhythm and serenity , with the duo ingeniously incorporating Michael Jackson’s Smooth criminal into the Tap Dancing Framework. A laid back and stripped back performance that maintained a sense of calm, however although there were moments of transition, the performance lacked enough nuance and change. 3/5

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Savion Glover’s SoLe Sanctuary is currently showing at Sadler’s Wells until Sunday 6th April, for more infomation on the production, click here…

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