BalletBoyz® are an all-male company of ten that are totally reinvigorating ballet as a dance form, giving it a gritty edge that the traditional companies lack. They performed two pieces, “Serpent” and “Fallen” which, although strikingly different, showcased the sheer strength and power of the dancers. These dancers were not your stereotypical men in tights, but rather emblazoned with tattoos, stubble and piercings – totally shattering the feminine stigma that is so often attached to ballet.
At the beginning of each piece the audience were shown an introductory video in order for us to see the choreographer’s vision. “Serpent” was the creation of Liam Scarlett who stated that he wanted to encapsulate the “fluidity” and “constant movement” of the snake, juxtaposing beauty with the notion of something inherently dark and deadly. This came across most successfully on stage when the performers intertwined their bodies and movements, seeming as if to be one. This relationship between the dancers was particularly captivating as rather than what one might assume to promote a sort of homoeroticism on stage, the way they interacted with each other promoted ideas of strength; the ability to lift each other up with the ease and control they displayed is a great feat. It also played well into the concept of nature as they seemed like two sparring males in the wild.
There was an immediate shift in atmosphere as the performance moved to Russell Maliphant’s “Fallen”, with spotlights employed to create shadows across the stage. This allowed the audience to see the dancer’s movements in an additional dimension and added to the intense, base and almost tribal nature of the piece.This was fused with an industrialised and urban looking setting to give the impression of the choreographer exploring modern man and what lies beneath his surface. The dancers demonstrated impressive abilities, using each other as props to jump from, and filling the entire stage with action in a more aggressive way than the first piece.
The overall performance was ever so slightly unpolished, however I personally felt that it was all the better for it. The roughness and the sheer passion being shown felt natural and raw without being conceited and added to the notion that BalletBoyz® celebrate the capability and virility of the male form. On a slightly more unprofessional note, if you weren’t already tempted, I can recommend this dance group on the basis that I have never seen so much muscle on one stage: it was as if Hercules himself had spawned ten demi-gods and taught them how to dance.