6 October 2015

Young Men by BalletBoyz at Sadler's Wells


I knew exactly what to expect from Young Men by BalletBoyz at Sadler's Wells because I had seen it before. I wanted to see it again because it was fantastic the first time. It was fantastic the second time too.

On my previous trip there we had all gone to the Banana Tree first but this time I fancied something a little posher and went for The Gate. This also had the advantage of being a vegetarian restaurant so there was much more choice and I did not have ask what the strange sounding foreign foods were.

The 6:30 booking was necessary as the place was soon packed. I was a little optimistic in going for a starter as well as a main course but the food was so tempting that I had to try two things. I almost thought about panicking at one stage but the food did arrive just in time and by paying the bill while still eating I was able to leave the restaurant at 7:20, which was plenty of time to get to Sadler's Wells for the 7:30 start.

As before, I went for the front row of the Second Circle where seat A18 was a bargain £22. It's worth repeating that the advantage of being high for shows like this is that you can see the full depth of the stage and can see the patterns that the dancers make as they move across it. I cannot imagine watching a ballet like this from the Stalls and only getting a front-on view.

I had a good idea of what to expect having seen the performance before but my memory was more of the shape than of the detail as there was just too much going on across the whole stage all of the time to remember many of the specifics. So even though this was a second viewing it felt much like a first.

My memories were of BalletBoyz's staple ingredients like intricate interactions as the dancers flowed around, over and under each other at a breathtaking pace, the dancers acting in small groups that kept changing size and the dominance of movement on the ground above movement in the air. To that I could add the specific details of the arm and upper body movements.

I only remembered the mood of the music too and it was good to hear that again too.

Young Men was intensely visual with many striking images. The ones that haunt the most afterwards are the men running and then falling when shot, and the men running towards the front of the stage then sliding. It was a vigorous performance but not an overly physical one, there was all the trademark BalletBoyz delicate movement too.

Young Men was a great ballet that I enjoyed as least as much on the second viewing as the first and I am hoping for a third one day, which is quite possible as they have been filming it.

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