Dance Review: BalletBoyz – the TALENT 2013

Where: Milton Keynes Theatre / When: 12th November 2013

I was able to catch a performance of the BalletBoyz latest, the Talent 2013 this week. The performance consisted of two contrasting pieces with an all-male cast. Enjoyment of both pieces was increased by the inclusion of a short film before each, detailing the creative process from the choreographer’s perspective.

The first work was Liam Scarlett’s first commission for the BalletBoyz and his first to use contemporary dancers. Entitled ‘The Serpent’ and set to a haunting score by Max Richter, the piece was raw and emotional, the dancers writhing and sliding and swooping and wrapping themselves around each other, effectively evoking the titular creature. The company looked exquisite; all being at the peak of their physical prowess as dancers, they made their strength and physicality seem delicate and elegant. The set design was minimal, save for some evocative blue and white lighting, which was smartly designed. This coupled with the costumes of flesh coloured tights only, added to a sense of seeing something pure and primal.

The movement was remarkable throughout and I found the choreography very romantic, watching the dancers cling together and hold each other through some beautiful steps and there was great fluidity and languor to the movement. I did feel that it was a little overlong and found the jumps in tone musically a little disconcerting (the pace and energy of the music leapt around throughout) but it was a beautiful dance work nonetheless.

The second work of the evening was Russell Maliphant’s ‘Fallen’. It contrasted greatly in tone and design from the first, though the two definitely complemented each other. Fallen was set to a pounding, relentless soundtrack of drums and bass notes by Armand Amar which lent a tense expectancy to the work.  The lighting design evoked an underground, dank, shadowed space and the overall effect of the movement, lighting and sound was to make me feel like I was on the edge of a rumble. It had shades of West Side Story-esque gangland warfare; it felt as if the piece could explode into violence at any minute. The movements were rhythmic and wonderfully symbiotic, with great feats of strength displayed again. I think I preferred this piece to The Serpent, purely for the added energy and volatility the dancers’ brought to it.

The performance as a whole was incredibly enjoyable. It was great to see such a young, gifted group of performers really pushing themselves physically and producing some incredible effects with their bodies. Well worth seeing if you get the chance – the company continues to tour throughout November 2013.

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