BalletBoyz: The Talent 2013, Palace Theatre, Watford
Monday 21 January 2013
BalletBoyz William Trevitt and Michael Nunn have always been ambitious. This latest double bill shows off ten strong and charismatic male dancers in new works by big name choreographers Liam Scarlett and Russell Maliphant. It’s a confident evening of muscle and grace.
Trevitt and Nunn built BalletBoyz on their own dance talents. They’ve now moved the company on to a new generation, relaunching it as a larger, all-male troupe. Their training is varied, from gymnastics and ballet to one dancer, Matthew Rees, who has had no formal training at all. Together, they’ve make a team with fluid movement and plenty of swagger.
Liam Scarlett, currently ballet’s next big thing, stresses the fluidity. Serpent opens with the men lying on their sides. They reach up with one hand, bare arms curling and winding in snaky lines. Scarlett gives them sinuous moves, but makes use of their weight and strength in partnering, including overhead lifts. One dancer will take another by the waist, then twist until he’s lying across his partner’s thigh. They are literally balanced partners.
Scarlett’s balletic lines look good on these dancers, though he sometimes slips into body beautiful poses, heightened by the costumes: tights and bare chests. Serpent could do with stronger music. Max Richter’s soundtrack acts as melancholy wallpaper; it has less energy and pace than Scarlett’s twisting steps.
From the beginning, Russell Maliphant has been at the heart of the BalletBoyz repertory. His new work Fallen responds to the scale of the new company with driving attack. Armand Amar’s score has a driving rhythm; even when it slows down, the energy keeps pumping.
Maliphant starts with an elaborate group pose: a circle of five dancers, with another five perched on their shoulders. The upper five dive down into the centre, then flow out between their colleagues, like the widening ripples of a stone dropped in water.
Fallen switches between solos, duets and group dances. As the men face each other, ducking and diving, it recalls the Brazilian martial art capoeira: it’s not aggressive, but they mark each other. Sometimes one will jump onto another’s braced thigh and leap away again. It’s a fluent swoop with a sense of spring and recoil.
Maliphant also brings out a looser, rougher movement quality in these dancers, giving them extra force and bite. It’s a powerful end to a strong programme.
Tour continues until 23 March; www.balletboyz.com
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre