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A great leap for men's style: Ballet's leading men put the coming season's sportswear-inspired collections through their steps

  • @AlexanderFury

"The main jewel of dance performance was always the ballerina... that has changed." Those are the words of Ivan Putrov, the mind behind – and, sometimes, the legs in front of – Men in Motion.

As both the programme's name and Putrov's statement suggests, it's a sell-out celebration of the male form through ballet. Performed twice at Sadler's Wells since 2012, the show returns with a new cast to the stage of the London Coliseum later this month, including English National Ballet Lead Principal, Vadim Muntagirov, and Edward Watson, recipient of the Olivier Award in 2012 for Outstanding Achievement in Dance.

"They are nominated for the best dancer of the year – so what you get... is the best!" Those are Putrov's words again – and the trio of Muntagirov, Putrov and Watson appear here modelling a selection of sportswear-inspired pieces from the spring 2014 menswear collections. Atop their own dance tights.

Just as the international menswear collections have grown in prominence and importance – the autumn/winter shows are currently on their final hurdle in Paris – so has the role of the male dancer in ballet. "In a hundred minutes of dance, I'll show a century of male dancing," says Putrov. "At the beginning of the 20th century there was this strong push, there were all these creations made for male dancers. Another great time came when Matthew Bourne choreographed the all-male Swan Lake. It does go in waves."

This year's incarnation of Men in Motion mixes pieces from the early 19th century right through until today. "They're all personal favourites," says Putrov of the selection, but asserts "there are classical works, there are modern works ... more than half is new to Men in Motion. There will be new creations by Arthur Pita, Javier de Frutos and Alan Oyen."

That's a pretty hefty trio of contemporary choreographic talent: Pita is the hand that created the acclaimed balletic evocation of Kafka's The Metamorphosis for Watson last summer. The former has created a new duet between Stuttgart Ballet Principal Marijn Rademaker and Watson, to be accompanied live by Dan Gillespie Sells of The Feeling. "One of the important things to show," says Putrov, "is that dance as an art form is live and booming".

'Men in Motion' is at the London Coliseum, WC2, 30-31 January

Photographer: Brian Daly

Stylist: Lee Holmes

Dancers: Ivan Putrov, Edward Watson and Vadim Muntagirov

Make-up and hair: Carol Morley using Kiehl's

Shot on location at London's leading dance theatre, Sadler's Wells; sadlerswells.com