Ladysmith Black Mambazo In Zulu Ballet Inala

By Laura Dodge Last edited 24 months ago
Ladysmith Black Mambazo In Zulu Ballet Inala ★★★☆☆ 3

Photo: Tristram Kempton

Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆

Ladysmith Black Mambazo and a company of talented dancers take to the Sadler’s Wells stage this week. In Inala (helpfully described on marketing materials as ‘a Zulu ballet’), the audience is immersed into South African life – from the sounds of blaring car horns to the movements of savannah animals.

There’s plenty to like. Encompassing everything from rhythmic tribal gestures to classical pas de deux, dancers perform effortlessly in Mark Baldwin’s energetic choreography. The Royal Ballet’s Camille Bracher stands out in particular with her gorgeous leg extensions, while BBC Young Dancer finalist Jacob O’Connell impresses with pirouettes and large jumps.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s sounds are exquisite, evoking a range of moods from the meditative to the exuberant. The singers are also excellent dancers and bring irresistible touches of humour as well as a backward somersault in the air.

There’s no story to Inala and at times the music becomes so contemplative that we found it hard to stay focused on the action onstage. But the show’s finale — the virtuosic and upbeat ‘Woza Sambe’ — rounds off the Zulu ballet with toe-tapping style.

Inala is at Sadler's Wells, Rosebery Avenue, EC1R 4TN until Saturday then on tour around the UK. Tickets £12-£38. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary ticket.

Last Updated 08 July 2015