Monday 17th January

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BalletBoyz: theTALENT @ Richmond Theatre

| Dance | 19/02/2014

Photo credit: Panayiotis Sinnos

Balletboyz’ Michael Nunn and William Trevitt present their third round of ‘The Talent’ and how. As much as I love dance in all its forms I certainly know nothing about it. Apart from what I like. I witnessed ‘The Talent’ in its first year on the expanse of Sadler’s Wells. Such skill translates to the touring stage just as effectively, whilst according a whole new effectiveness. Hell, they could stage it in a shopping mall, ‘the talent’ is that great.

On video, Liam Scarlett confides engagingly and intimately about his practice. ‘Serpent’ is graceful, sensual and aesthetic. Rare to ‘hear’ any English audience so quiet, not a single splutter or cough throughout its opening section. Should you be wary of all-male entertainment I can only say by its second phase the dance – and score by Max Richter – is so beautiful it’s enough to make a man weep. Michael Hull uses lighting like graphics, a visual composition a complete image, moving on all levels. From its midpoint swathed in sunlight, the glow remains on duetting partners twisting and turning with heart-stopping agility before a sapphire sky. Next, they’re seemingly warring in the ultimate ballet face-off: unthreadling, weaving, reforming, splitting, pairing-off, duelling. Dialogues of extraordinary complexity.

This is, re-assured, a layman’s review and I wonder if it would benefit from any knowledge of ballet or if I’m better off without it. The friend I was with is a dance enthusiast and she recognised elements of yoga, Tai Chi, boxing and even belly-dance – not that there’s a single loose giblet in sight, damn it. Phenomenal to witness such strength and mastery in choreography, played out so delicately and sensitively; serving to highlight the incredible craft of the ballerino.

Photo credit: Panayiotis Sinnos

In Russell Maliphant’s ‘Fallen’, you really ‘get’ that aspect of ‘men at work’. First the pastoral, now the industrial. An urban vision cranked-up in a slightly robotic, mechanic, though very well-oiled manner. Armand Amar’s raw soundscape, groaning with low electronic farts, befits an even starker set: a literally emptied stage, nakedly exposed, shadows oscillating on a black wall. One darkly moustachioed dancer can’t help but stand out although agile isn’t the word for his simply incredible, self-interlocking solo. The name’s Andrea Carrucciu and it’s not to mention the equal stars of the minion in jaw-dropping procession of balances and holds. As in the first piece, it ends as it begins. This time, a spinning wheel or winding cog when the blackout hits.

‘Balletboyz’ are the evolution of masculine dance, and a mirror on social and sexual revolution. In opposition to the gym-obsessed ‘extra-male’ culture, here’s a truer ‘definition’ of maleness redefining sex and humanity. Surely the boyz are so used to rave reviews that I must be boring them. Easily a five star performance – I’d give it six.

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