Wednesday, February 19

BalletBoyz: THEM/US

- September 19, 2019

BalletBoyz filled the stage of Theatre Royal Brighton in a way that few dance companies ever manage, with a work that seemed to be bespoke. The simplicity of the setting, a simple three dimensional open structure in the first part Them, provided an extraordinary foil to the elegant movement that moved through pattern making symmetry and asymmetry to extraordinary interchanges between pairs of dancers, solos and ensembles. Fleeting interactions built to longer exchanges, moments of real tension, passion and aggression, raw physicality and incredible intimacy, a powerful expression of  relationships between humans and humanity.

Charlotte Harding’s score provided both structure and mood, the soundscape shifting from solo bass through string quartet to light jazz motifs and the lighting by Andrew Ellis working with company directors Michael Nunn and William Trevitt was perfect. The piece, created by the dancers with Charlotte Pook and the company directors was captivating, passing all too soon.

The second part, US, saw the dancers enter the stage in unstructured steely grey frock coats to a score by Keaton Henson that was perhaps reminiscent of Gorecki and Arvo Pärt, no bad thing. The shapes created against this were intensely connected, often forming sculptural tableaux that unwound, chain like and the images shifted from militaristic, those figures piled like the fallen soldiers of war memorials, to lyrical dancing gentlemen frock coat tails swirling behind them as they swept around the space.

What followed was so very moving, one dancer returns, coatless and dances alone in a white long tailed shirt, a spirit occupying the stage alone but filling it. Then two shirtless men take over in what must be one of the most beautifully intense, sensuous and discreetly erotic duets I have every seen – a beautiful and memorable performance that saw them interacting through dance in a way that took the form to an entirely new level.

What really impresses though, in work from this company that has reached a level of real maturity, is that the movement is only a part of the performance, these guys act every drop of the work not only with their lithe bodies but in their faces too, lifting the experience to a whole new level of intense beauty.

Each and every one of those involved is worthy of the highest praise and left a standing audience wanting more. Come back soon!

18 September

Theatre Royal Brighton

Andrew Kay

Rating: ★★★★★

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