With The Talent the Balletboyz, William Trevitt and Michael Nunn, set up their company's next generation. The Talent is all-male, featuring an eight-strong group chosen through open auditions. This programme was created to show off the new company.
Nunn claims, in a trademark film clip, that open auditions are rare these days. In fact, they give The Talent a link with reality TV talent shows, with manufactured boy bands. Trevitt and Nunn play up this element, bringing the cast on to a soundtrack of pop-concert screams. They are an engaging group, bright and energetic.
The first number, Freddie Opoku-Addaie's "B-Banned", shows power struggles in the group. The winner is the one who does most with the signature sequence – a series of moves and gestures, with hands to heart, holding up one finger, yearning at the audience. Anthony Middleton plays the outsider, a fan who wants to join in. He is brushed off, until he does the sequence best.
The sequence has a nice mocking edge, a compilation of boyband clichés that gives the dancers a chance to swagger. Oppoku-Addaie responds to the different personalities. Davin King poses coolly, authoritative and funny. But there are too many vague confrontations that don't come into focus. The set-up needs stronger acting than this young cast can deliver, though Middleton does a bold switch from fan to king of the jungle.
"Alpha", the second new work, is from Paul Roberts, who has choreographed for artists from Diana Ross to Pop Idol. "Alpha" has distracting music by Keaton Henson – the steps are smooth but the words demand more attention.
Russell Maliphant's "Torsion" has been a signature work and the Balletboyz have invited Maliphant and his lighting director, Michael Hulls, to remake it. It shows off the range of demands Maliphant makes: strong or delicate, speedy or fluid movement.
The opening sequence puts everyone in the spotlight but as the dance splits up the dancers take on aspects of the choreography that suit them most. King spins on his knees, whirling in a fluent, rippling circle. There is outstanding work from Leon Poulton and Matthew Rees with the slowest, steadiest material. Their steps unfold with velvet smoothness, easing into powerful lifts and calm balances.
Touring to 30 March (Balletboyz.com)Reuse content