17 February 2014

BalletBoyz at Richmond Theatre

For some reason I've dropped off the Richmond Theatre emailing list, despite subscribing with multiple email addresses, so it took the good will of a friend to alert me to the return of BalletBoyz who I had last seen there almost exactly a year before. She also did the hard work of getting the tickets.

We were well placed in the stalls, my seat was H8, and I was pleased that the offset seating gave me a clear view of the stage.

BalletBoyz were touring their theTALENT show which I had seen all or parts of twice the previous year. I was looking forward to seeing it again as dance, like music, gets better the more it is experienced as that allows the detail to shine through.

The first piece, by Liam Scarlett, was a series of connected short pieces that usually featured just a few of the eleven dancers. It was very episodic and the episode that stuck in my mind the most had the dancers in pairs performing a series of arm and head movements that looked as though they were fighting each other, but it was much prettier than that.

That quick-fire section of short delicate moves was something of an exception and the signature movement across the whole piece was full arm swings, a la Pete Townsend.

In the second half it was Russell Maliphant's turn to show us what he could do with the BalletBoyz. His approach was more collegiate, it started with all eleven dancers on stage forming two concentric circles, and more physical with plenty of lifting and climbing. He weaved patterns with his dancers that filled the stage with so much movement that it was hard to keep score.

My companion for the evening uttered a very audible "Wow!" at one point and I was forced to glare at her, though I could understand her reasons.

BalletBoyz show that male dance is no longer simply about leaping high and that physical strength can be used to more subtle and more beautiful ends.

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