Founded in 2000 by Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, BalletBoyz was set up for the two ex Royal Ballet dancers to continue to develop their creative projects. When the duo retired from the stage in 2010, the company perdured with the arrival of a new generation of BalletBoyz. Today it comprises seven male dancers and one apprentice, and continues to deliver multidisciplinary-influenced work.

Balletboyz in <i>Them/Us</i> © George Piper
Balletboyz in Them/Us
© George Piper

BalletBoyz’s latest productionThem/Us was conceived around the evocations of it eponymous title. The dichotomy runs indeed through the double bill, seemingly presenting oppositions enforced in space – by using a huge cubic stage prop –, and in emotions – by illustrating the bond relationships create between ‘us’.

The evening begins with Them, a piece choreographed by the BalletBoyz dancers themselves. The unusual creative process yielded an interesting result, the dancers having created a highly tailored choreography using the unique and intimate knowledge they have of their own bodies and the group. The brand-new score composed by Charlotte Harding is similarly tailor-made to each step, demonstrating the close-knit collaboration with the company. The choreography is meticulous and geometrical, also in a way reflecting the unmissable large cubic frame that occupies the stage. The movement momentarily softens, bringing an essential touch of nuance beautifully performed by the ensemble. The colourful 80s’ inspired sportswear used for the costumes adds a light playful tone to the work, sometimes however, regrettably, the clothes are too wide, concealing the dancers’ physical movements. The cubic frame is the piece’s central focus point and most ingenious element, as it structures the choreography and enables a narrative. The cube is used as a space demarcation, creating a visual frontier between those that are in and those that are out. It evokes a community as the dancers must unite and interact to move the structure. The frame is most cleverly used to complexify the movement, playing with the dancers’ balance and strength.

Balletboyz in <i>Them/Us</i> © George Piper
Balletboyz in Them/Us
© George Piper

Us, Christopher Wheeldon’s new piece for the company follows. While the staging drastically changes in tone with its grey costumes and dim lighting, the choreography displays similar features to Them suggesting Wheeldon’s influence on the dancers. The piece is gripping and well-rhythmed, visually mesmerizing, especially in its ensemble passages, and heightened by Keaton Henson’s emotional score. Wheeldon is incontestably one of the leading choreographers of the past decade, and it’s a treat to have him create for such a tight-knit group of dancers. Us closes the evening by the revival of a pas de deux choreographed by Wheeldon in 2017 for the BalletBoyz’s previous production FOURTEEN DAYS. Undoubtedly the climax of the performance, the choreography illustrates a powerful emotional bond between the two characters. Both dancers deliver a strong interpretation of the duo, absolutely embracing its emotional intimacy and using the wide physical amplitude of their movements to illustrate the narrative, as their bodies repeatedly interlace and unbind, resting on and bouncing off each other. Leaving the audience on an edge, the pas de deux brings a delightful end to the evening’s choreographic crescendo.



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