March 29 2011
By Lara Bianca Pilcher
Living in London has the artistic advantage of seeing a constant stream of dance shows and premieres, with the latest Sadler’s Wells debut being BalletBoyz, The TALENT. This explosion of nine male dancers was exceptional and a unique display of male strength, grace and vigour.
The BalletBoyz performance interestingly had little to no ballet in it. BalletBoyz, in its 10th year, has developed over time into an eclectic mix of a variety of dancers from very different backgrounds. The show was very much a contemporary dance performance and we enjoyed three very different dance works.
We were shown a short DVD and I particularly enjoyed the behind the scenes look at the audition and company building process. It introduced the dancers to us, and by doing so, we saw their human side and could laugh at some of their embarrassing and less serious moments.
The TALENT began with Russell Maliphant’s choreography ‘Torsion’. This was an all denim, all male, balance between grace and strength that was truly mesmerizing due to its masculinity within very intimate physical contact choreography. The dancers were like brothers and in no way were the lifts and constant connections through touch in any way sexual.
‘Alpha’ was the second work created by Paul Roberts. The costume design by Shelina Somani was breathtaking. The men were in earthy tones and bare chested with open tops that floated like silk. Each male was so different in appearance and dance quality. Watching young Portuguese dancer, Miguel Esteves, was like watching honey trickle off a spoon. He had a way of making each movement seamless, effortless and as smooth as the silk they were wearing. Work like this certainly ensures the success of this company.
The final work choreographed by Jarek Cemerek entitled ‘Void’, was set in the London streets. The use of background film upon a large scrim with lighting by Andrew Ellis was riveting. This work had mystery and a story intertwined. What would a performance of all males onstage be without a fight scene or two? There was no void of fighting here. However, I did feel that the work could be further developed and it at times looked mainly improvised.
BalletBoyz were fearless. I found myself guiltily thinking, ‘I’d be quite happy to only watch male dancers for the rest of my life’! It truly is a rare gift to see an all male show of this calibre. BalletBoyz obliterates any stereotypes of male dancers as being weak or feminine!