Artistic directors of Ballet Boyz Billy Trevitt and Michael Nunn present us with a speed dating style programme, match making four choreographers with four composers. Each pair is tasked to create a new work for the company in a mere 14 days. Top billing dance makers, Javier de Frutos, Craig Revel Horwood, Iván Pérez and Christopher Wheeldon all step up to the plate. This foursome herald from very different dance genres and bring an artistic challenge to the 11 strong all-male ensemble.

© Panayotis Sinnos
© Panayotis Sinnos

Opening the programme is de Frutos paired with composer Scott Walker. If first impressions count, then The title is in the text misses its mark. The volume of the music is overpowering. It engulfs the dancers. Their movement is muted and their presence is diminished, effectively upstaged by a barrage of sound. If Walker's score is a deluge, de Frutos' choreography is its antithesis. Balancing on a giant see-saw, dancers tentatively transition through a series of tableaux. It's not a contrast that works well; the intensity inherent in the music and spoken word is met with bland, flattened movement. Devilishly difficult to execute one imagines, but really dull to watch.

Craig Revel Horwood's The indicator line is the evening's other disappointment. Drawing on the Eureka Rebellion of 1854 in Ballarat, Australia – an uprising that involved Revel Horwood's own ancestors – the piece is bloated; overstuffed with movement and soap opera. The rhythmic and dramatic use of clogging is muffled by sharp-edged percussive instrumentation. But Charlotte Harding's gravelly, driven score is this work's saving grace and evocative lighting by Paul Anderson captures a powerful sense of place.

Us, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon (music by Keaton Henson), is the jewel in the crown. Jordon Robson and Bradley Waller hold the briefest connection through their finger tips and the fizz of an electric current passes between them. They trace the mutual arc of their stretched limbs, their lines soften and thaw into a sequence of interlocking lifts. It is tender and eloquent, romantic even. Wheeldon's choreography fits like a silk glove on Robson and Waller. Us is a beautiful and heart stealing duet.

Iván Pérez contributes Human Animal to the 14 days experiment. It is an intricate marriage between Perez's movement and Joby Talbot's composition. Caught in the perpetual orbit of a wide circle, motifs disappear and reappear like echoes across the dancers' bodies. A change of speed, direction or a twist in the torso adds a finespun layer of embroidered detail. Its pared back minimalism hangs loose in the dancers' frames. It's simplicity is enthralling – a meditative out breath in a packed first half.

Russell Maliphant's award winning Fallen forms the second half of the programme. This piece brings together Maliphant's long-time collaborator, lighting designer Michael Hulls and composer Armand Amar. Maliphant's obsession is as much about the invisible shapes between the dancers as the liquid physicality he coaxes from their bodies. The group dynamic holds the piece together. Working as a unit, they explore the negative space, cutting into each other's territory. A ticking clock and the reverberating orchestration adds pace and urgency. Hulls sculpts the choreography with his characteristic attention to detail, highlighting the pinpoint accuracy and athleticism of the ensemble.  

Trevitt and Nunn are no strangers to a bit of controversy and experimentation. Every art form needs creative mavericks, those who are prepared to stick their necks out and try something different. The quality of performance is top-notch, but the choreography is pot luck in places. Whilst not all of the collaborations have the enviable chemistry of Maliphant and Hulls, the ingenuity of concept deserved its second curtain call.