Review: BalletBoyz

Talent 2013 is the latest production by the innovative dance group, BalletBoyz. Even calling them a ‘dance group’ doesn’t do justice to the things these men do; it is not just ballet or contemporary but the most incredible expression of passion and strength. Following on from my recent interview with dancer Ed Pearce, I was fortunate enough to get to see him in action at GLive. Believe the hype, they are truly remarkable.

This latest venture sees two world premieres from choreographers Russell Maliphant and Liam Scarlett, showcasing their innovative creativity as well as the skill and precision of their dances. Each act was preceded by a short video clip of the respective choreographer, providing some insight into their ways of working and the inspiration behind the movements. This was a very useful way of ensuring the audience didn’t come in cold to the performance, helping those without any dance knowledge to feel a little more welcome.

Act one was beautifully simple – all the dancers in flesh-coloured tights, with fairly classical music overlaying a display of physicality, highlighting the masculine physique in movement. I myself am not a dancer, so am unaware of the technicalities of styles such as ballet. Nevertheless I was able to truly appreciate the control needed throughout this first half. The dancers were mesmerising, moving fluidly across the stage but with incredible effort that was evident throughout the piece. Simplistic lighting meant that the movement spoke for itself without distraction or theatricality; it was ballet in an incredibly pure form of expression.

The second act moved from embracing the physique to harnessing male dominance and strength. As Scarlett mentioned in his video clip, often in ballet the strength of the piece rests on the female, the male being a support. In his choreography however, the 10-strong company showcased their phenomenal agility and power with the most awe-inspiring lifts, jumps and turns. The music and costuming took on a more intimidating theme, with green and brown hues building on the mechanical, thumping drums and stirring rhythms. This half was meant to amaze, and it did just that with feats of pure strength and precision being complimented by beautiful technique and musicality.

I cannot comment on the particular moves or choices of choreography, having no real understanding of what would be classed as classical or risky, but I can however state that I could have happily watched these men perform all day. Riverdance has been my favourite dance company for the past ten years, and it is with great ease that I say that BalletBoyz are now a very close second indeed. I would highly recommend that you get to see them as they tour across the country, hitting Sadler’s Wells in London in early March. You will not be disappointed.


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