In a double bill at Sadler’s Wells, BalletBoyz demonstrate a group amity and common identity unlike any other company of their size. Founded by Michael Nunn and William Trevitt in 2000, the group has seen significant success across the UK and internationally, particularly in the USA. The dancers are very clearly ten individuals with unique skills and training but, as a company, the all-male ensemble displays a deep bond and a mutual language of movement. Their trust in each other has visible results.

The two pieces presented premièred together in January 2013 and the group has toured them as a pair since. Serpent by Liam Scarlett and Fallen by Russell Maliphant were both choreographed on BalletBoyz – The Talent, and both use the company's strengths to breathtaking effect.

Ten male dancers lie curled in a foetal position, bathed in an ultraviolet purple glow. A single hand reaches skyward, the fist opening, exploratory and deft. One arm is joined by two more, before the dancers find their feet and break apart. One pair is then left alone on stage, their movements strong, supple and grounded. Their deep pliés support powerful lifts and pairs balance one another’s bodyweight, and fall back into one another’s arms with reckless abandon. They leap at each other, full-bodied, knowing they will be caught, safe and beautifully, before wrapping their bodies around their partner's in a horizontal embrace.

A soloist approaches an unmoving, floor-bound pair, who sit back to back. He spurs them into movement without touching them and, as if he’s provoked a coiled snake, the pair react swiftly, moving through space with supple torsos as if joined in a one body. Five pairs, spotlit, share a moment of stillness. Then, one by one, four pairs commence combat, sparring with each other on the spot. Only once every other pair has exited, do the central couple break their intense gaze to begin the same sequence.

Every pairing, trio or ensemble moment in this piece is markedly balanced – no one member ever seems stronger or more in control than another, and positions of power are often reversed, with the lifter becoming the lifted, for example. With moments of unison flowing seamlessly into canon, all ten dancers are rarely all on stage for long, as the group splits, morphs and re-forms. This quality, which I had noted in the first piece, was voiced at the beginning of the second, Fallen, by Maliphant himself in a video interview. Maliphant highlighted the strengths of working on ten dancers, each with a unique skill set, who have the motivation to learn from each other, and to develop a common language together, without detracting from any individual skills.

The intensity of feeling is undoubtedly heightened by the music and lighting. Max Richter’s score, Memory House, projects big emotions onto the piece: tension, anger, despair and longing. Michael Hulls’ lighting lights the dancers as if by the rising sun from stage left, against an intense blue or purple for much of the piece, and Scarlett’s choreography has a rare, inherently dramatic quality that makes this piece, although non-narrative, intensely emotive.

Maliphant’s Fallen opens with all ten dancers, one on top of each other and arms linked, forming a circular structure almost like Stonehenge. As the solid structure breaks down, five dancers surround it, circling on their haunches, animal-like and low to the ground, intent on their central focus. Again, the group dissolves into smaller parts and there comes an urgent duet, the pair reaching for each other, barely touching but their movement interlocking. One places his cheek against the other’s horizontal, curved spine, while another pours forth flexible contortions of his body in a wonderful solo, only to spring back to attention, suddenly aware of the threatening presence of four other dancers surrounding him.

A tempo change brings all ten dancers into a constant state of flux, and a stream of supported jumps and lifts ensues. One hints at a crucifixion, with a dancer lifted up high and supported at the ankles and sternum as he spreads his arms wide. The moment the movement begins to grow stale, there comes a shift in focus, a quickening of tempo, and the notion is dispelled. Maliphant’s Fallen is dark and tense: the score by Armand Amar uses mechanical sounds to create atmosphere, while the bare stage, all its raw elements made visible, becomes a hostile environment under Hulls’ lighting. Quite unlike Serpent, the dancers appear imprisoned, their repetitive movements taking on a ritualistic quality, and their group affinity becoming almost tribal in its stifling intensity.

This pair of pieces, although very different, are like two sides of a coin and they are united by BalletBoyz – The Talent's clearly defined group identity.