By Dasha Scanlan-Oumow
Walking up to The Sadlers Wells Theatre, you can hear the buzz of people all waiting to see Pontus Linberg and Javier De Frutos’ new creation. Ballet Boyz is a collection of twelve extremely talented dancers, collected from all around which creates a hugely diverse atmosphere on stage – although I was curious at how an ensemble of male only dancers would interact on stage, who would dance the female parts? The curtains went up – the audience hushed and the conductor picked up his baton; it was about to begin.
Leaving the theatre a very short hour and a half later, I was struck at how beautiful dance can be. I felt this throughout the whole performance; the dancers didn’t move like people at all, but rather flowed and rippled like water. The two halves were incredibly different, just as the two choreographers are incredibly different. Linberg’s section, entitled ‘Rabbits’ was a heartbreaking journey of loneliness and alienation. All dancers save one, wore rabbit heads and smart trousers, whilst the last was the only dancer without a rabbit mask. Bringing together aspects of comedy, which made everyone chuckle, and darker moments of heart wrenching movement, the first half finished leaving the audience honoured at having witnessed such an incredible tribute to dance. A particular moment especially, that stood out to me, was a duo, where both dancers complemented and contrasted each other in perfect harmony. Every movement one made, the other would respond – this set of a chain of movements, each a reply to the previous. It created a beautiful song and struck chords inside every individual watching. The absence of female dancers enhanced the fragility and tenderness of the male dancers. Although there were no specific boy/girl designated roles, this did not in any way take away the magic made on stage. Instead the atmosphere it created was one of absolute harmony and equality, the men dancing on stage were not men, but rather humans. They weren’t representing men or women simply dancing ballet. Their message was one of a deeper kind, they were telling the stories of heartbreak and loneliness inside the heart of a human. Man or woman regardless.
After this intense journey, all audience members rushed back to their seats, eager for another glimpse at this beautiful creation. We received something very different to ‘Rabbits’ but nonetheless expertly crafted. De Frutos named his dance ‘Fiction’, it is centred around his own death, and the newspaper article that is written to honour him. It relaxed the audience and the comedic aspects soon brought out many laughs from us, happy to be entertained for an evening. Although not as deep and touching as ‘Rabbits’, it was a different kind of dance which still was incredibly thought provoking. As the newspaper article is read over the loud speakers, the dancers act it out, it seems that the dancers take inspiration from their choreographers life and create beautiful sections exploring the hardships he faced whilst becoming a well known choreographer.
Together, Fiction and Rabbits form a well balanced show which the audience a portion of slapstick comedy and moving sentimental sections, whilst accompanied by creepy staccato piano music. A show worth watching!