Review of Wild Card, Tim Casson, Casson & Friends, Sadlers Wells, London

Sadlers Wells has always celebrated innovation in dance and their new Wild Card series is the latest expression of their commitment to upcoming dance talent. Specially curated by the next generation of dance masters, Wild Card is an opportunity for a dancer, choreographer or producer to take the reins and present a selection of exciting work for the Sadlers Wells’ audience.

Held in the Lilian Baylis Studio, the evenings are a wonderful reminder of the breadth of dance work on offer and a great introduction to lesser known performers and choreographers. The first event was curated by Tim Casson, perhaps best known for his online performance project, The Dance WE Made. His company, Casson & Friends, focuses on collaboration and this was the running theme of the evening, which Casson used to showcase two other works alongside his own.

The first show, Copter, was an incredible exploration of our interactions with technology and surveillance: choreographed by Nina Kov, the piece saw performer Rosie Terry dance a duet with a remote-controlled helicopter. Thanks to some impressive flying by the unseen pilot, Jack Bishop, the helicopter appeared alive, responding to and engaging with Terry in an uncanny way. Original and captivating, the relationship between the two was varied and complex, demonstrating well the multi-faceted and delicate nature of our relationship with technology.

The second work was a brilliant and hilarious look at collaboration between different art forms. Sonata in 3 Movements followed one dancer (Elisa Vassena) and one musician (Benjamin Hooper) struggling to find their way within each other’s frame of reference. He can’t help but interpret her movements as music and she wants to make music through movement. Choreographed by Cornelia Voglmayr, this was a genuinely funny and moving dance piece that broke expectations of the dance space and even gently poked fun at the notion of a “dance space.”

Casson & Friends performance of Fiend was the highlight of the second half, in which live video was artfully manipulated to create multiple performances, both on the floor and on the screen. Tim Casson’s solo became a duet with his previous self and then with an abundance of Cassons. It was utterly fascinating and another example of how dance is incorporating technology into the performance space with massive success.

The show also included two small previews in the Kahn Lecture Theatre, where two pairs of artists had been given two days to create a new collaborative work. This was an interesting insight into the power of collaboration and the quality of work that can be produced in a short time when two creative minds are brought together. Wild Card is innovative and bold and you must visit. The doors to the dance world are being flung wide open and you’re all invited.

Upcoming Wild Card performances include Katye Coe, Preparation, on Friday 24 April and Hetain Patel, American Boy on the 28 and 29 May. For full listings and more information please visit www.

Wild Card, all spring, Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Ave, London EC1R 4TN.

Bryony Byrne

1. Nina Kov Copter (credit Camilla Greenwell).