Balletboyz: The Talent, Sadler's Wells, London
Friday 01 April 2011
Run by former Royal Ballet dancers William Trevitt and Michael Nunn, the Balletboyz has always been a canny company, balancing new choreography and an urge to demystify contemporary dance. As their own dancing careers come to an end, Trevitt and Nunn have moved on to a second generation.
Balletboyz – The Talent is a handpicked male company, presented as dance's equivalent of a boy band. In the company's signature film clips, each man looks into the camera, striking a pose as we're told their first names. In the company's second year, there are four new boyz, all strong dancers.
Torsion, the signature work created for the original boyz by Russell Maliphant, is now shared out among the nine dancers. One of the new dancers, the outstanding Miguel Esteves, dances the biggest solo, spinning on his knees in a huge, whirling circle. He's a fluid, sinuous dancer, twisting through Maliphant's curving shapes with distinctive elegance.
Singer-songwriter Keaton Henson appears on stage to perform the first number of Alpha, choreographed by Paul Roberts. It's a drifting work, full of rippling moves, but lacking drama.
Trevitt and Nunn chose their latest choreographer with online video clips, selecting Czech choreographer Jarek Cemerek out of more than 160 applicants. Void is a confrontational dance, with an urban edge. It opens with a terrific film noir video sequence, snatches of this choreography filmed at night on London streets. The same locations loom as backdrops over the piece, starkly filmed in black and white.
We recognise the steps when they appear on stage: two men grabbing each other by the elbows and shivering, something between a tango and a fight. The stage dance sometimes seems less concentrated than the film version, but it takes off in the running duets, the men dashing at each other, twisting into lifts and turns. The young company dance Cemerek's urban athletics with muscular attack.
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