The Dance Of The Six Foot Rabbit And Other Moves.

BALLETBOYz: Life

Theatre Severn

Wednesday 16 November2016

Since 2001 BALLETBOYz have been setting the world of contemporary dance on fire. With their bold strident and challenging pieces the two founders, Michael Nunn and William Trevitt have created a fascinating and accessible company, who always surprise. Tonight’s performance, that incidentally played to a very full house, added more to the intrigue and draw of their performances.

The first piece was a delightful exploration of a boy who played with rabbits.  ,Simply entitled, “ Rabbit”  the characters resembled a mix between, “ Alice and Wonderland,” and “Donnie Darko,”  the rabbit headed dancers twisted and turned as the boy mirrored the impish movements. The games became more involved as another boy appeared in the park and characteristically like rabbits, there was suddenly ten of the little bunnies twisting and turning and tying and tangling themselves to two boys with every sinew, muscle and tendon.

It is all about the movement of a story forward with nothing but the use of the body. It is breathtaking to see how the bodies are used , how they move and how they work in tandem with others around them. The boys these Ballet boys are at the peak of fitness and are in their prime for this type of performance art. Moves that would take us mere mortals years to learn are passed off so simplistically by these incredible athletes.

Working to the tight choreography of Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg,  “Rabbit,” is a surreal and mystical trip through the experience of the boys. Their innocuous curiosity blended with the trusting nature of the rabbits creates that moment in childhood, where everything is just great and everything is free and nothing really hurts. It is such an ephemeral moment in a boy’s life, but Lidberg has been able to capture it forever in aspic and the energy of that time in life is so vibrant one can feel the force simply by watching.

It is exhilarating to witness movement and music working together. Like the dancers the elements twist and plait in an inseperable way the result being a delightful piece. Only one complaint: it was a little on the short side. Running for merely 30 minutes. The boys, however gave so much to those thrity minutes that to ask for more would have been cruel. One imagines even BALLETBOYz get tired.

The second piece, “Fiction,” reflected on the fictional death of the piece’s choreographer Javier De Frutos. In defending the decision to fake his death for the piece, De Frutos believed that when staging a death it would be impolite to anybody he chose therefore he felt that he had to fake his own.  

The stage was stripped completely bare one could see the ropes and pulleys, the black, brick wall and the lights on their stands. Centre stage was a rehearsal bar. That was it.

To see a theatre stripped so bare is like looking at an artist’s blank canvas or blank, writer’s foolscap. One is excited by the emptiness as that can become anything that you want it to be.

For De Frutos it was to be a fantasia of movement and styles. His body was carried on high by the dancers, all the dancers he has ever known. All the moves he has ever taught and the accolades he had ever  achieved. It was all there. This irreverent yet self-generated obituary was a beautiful, brilliantly danced piece. Again running only five minutes longer than the first piece the thrilled audience cheered and whistled for more.

 It seems that when you give the best of what is available, if your reputation proceeds you and if you can create such astonishing dance as you just have done then your future will be secured. But more so the future of contemporary dance is assured. As it opens its metaphorical and literal doors to the new generation of Dance lovers the future of contemporary dance will grow and strengthen and will always hopefully challenge, confront and break boundaries.

This is a Five Star Review.

Owen J.Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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