BalletBoyz gave four leading choreographers fourteen days to create a piece that explores balance and imbalance. The resulting programme Fourteen Days, superbly captures the essence of the company, revealing the closeness of the dancers, their trust and rapport that sees them move seamlessly as a group, while allowing the individual to shine.
The programme opens with The Title is in the Text created by the acclaimed choreographer Javier de Frutos. It is a visually arresting piece, that sees a large seesaw structure on a dark stage that’s infused with green light, illuminating the dancers’ white workmen overalls. The theme of balance and imbalance sees the dancers move along, walk across, climb and sit on the seesaw with their weight counterbalanced by their fellow trusting dancers.
An intimate dialogue is created between the dancers as they traverse the beam; they lift each other, meet in the middle, push and pull as the structure and choreography rises and falls. The dancers create a sense of camaraderie, the male bond is explored, their trust shown as one pushes the other backwards off the seesaw from up high, falling into the arms of the group below. As the pendulum tempo swings through the movement, there are striking moments captured in photo-like freeze frames of stillness, that punctuate that constant flow of dancers who precariously and confidently balance on the swinging beam in this memorable piece.
Human Animal choreographed by Ivan Perez is a distinctive piece of perpetual motion that showcases BalletBoyz’s physical prowess as they seemingly become a troupe of horse-like beings. Dressed only in floral shirts with their legs fully exposed, the half human / animal inspired choreography is both whimsical and effective. The dancers’ swipe the floor with their feet in a horse-like gesture; they canter and trot in a continuous circle that draws the eye to their bare muscular legs, jumping to the tempo of a live orchestra, that added depth to the piece that ended to a rapturous applause from the audience.
Christopher Wheeldon’s US was the highlight of the evening, presenting an emotional, intimate duet elevated by the live orchestral soundscape and the fluid physical dialgoue created by Wheeldon’s expressive and complex choreography. The duet is both strong and sensual, with delicate contact and a sense of infinity in the movement between the two dancers. They move as one, they respond to the other, their foreheads touch, fingers delicately meet; they enquire and explain as their bodies meld and fold together. Wheeldon creates an intense beauty, a deeply intimate and enthralling piece that shows the emotions and closeness of this incredible company of talented dancers.
The Indicator Line choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood shows BalletBoyz filled with anger and frustration; their movements aggressive as they stomp in round-toed black boots. They fight, drag each other, tussle; they crouch low rumbling, fists clenched, they pound to the building tempo of the orchestra. The dark, masculine world is pierced by a strange red jacketed character, that added a sense of surrealism, a circus like ring-master who whips up a testosterone filled storm of explosive dancers in a blaring crescendo.
The evening ended with Russell Maliphant’s Fallen that was originally created for the company, who clearly enjoy the performance on a stripped back stage that’s dark, smokey as they’re dressed in fatigue greens facing combat together.
Reviewed on 26 April at Sadler’s Wells.
BalletBoyz is touring Fourteen, check out tour dates and location here.