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Ballet Black Triple Bill - Birmingham Review

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Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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Modern Edgy Ballet On Tour
It's always exciting to be faced by something unexpected and fresh. This show isn't just ballet, it's ballet for the 21st Century infused with scintillating sensualism and sass.

Ballet Black, triple bill, red riding hood
Ballet Black offers a modern, edgy type of dance

Ballet Black, a professional ballet company for international dancers of black and Asian descent, made its way to Birmingham for a performance for DanceXchange in The Patrick Centre (within Birmingham Hippodrome).

The two day stop-off over May 25 and 26 is a triple bill of three short dances including the highly anticipated Red Riding Hood.

On its opening night, the dance group was hit by a setback as a lead dancer fell on her head and suffered an injury. It meant the first of the trio - House of Dreams - couldn't be performed.

The show therefore kicked off with Captured. This 2012 dance piece choreographed by Martin Lawrance features four dancers accompanied by a recorded soundtrack of a string quartet.

It's fast-paced ballet with exquisite lines and symmetry. Dancers Jose Alves, Isabela Coracy, Cira Robinson and Mthuthuzeli November are elegant and poised throughout creating an ambience on stage.

Ballet Black triple bill tour, review
Fast paced and sophisticated moves by Ballet Black

There are some wonderful set pieces involving each woman being swirled around the male dancer that makes you wonder if the title could be a nod to being" captured" in freefalling passion.

The main event, however, is Red Riding Hood, which was co-commissioned by The Barbican. It uses traditional ballet moves combined with salsa and an air of street dance to create an edgy, fun character-led production that also is dark and menacing.

Using shadows and balloons in a simple yet dramatic way, we follow an excellent Sayaka Ichikawa as Red Riding Hood as she heads off to visit her seemingly jazzy grandmother.

Ballet Black triple bill review, tour
Red Riding Hood is an exciting dance production

Forget tutus and tights, this is a world where the pack of wolves line up in leather trousers and snewds.

Meanwhile the "Wolf", danced by a charismatic and scene-stealing Jacob Wye, is charming his way around town as a lover boy who scintillates doing mesmerising dances with a rope that doubles as a tail. His two female followers are hilarious, cooing and sighing around him.

The choreography by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa feels new and exciting and it excites because you don't know where it is going to lead. Where it does lead is into a much darker place than the fairytale with poor Riding Hood enticed and manipulated by the Wolf into his bed.

Ballet Black is producing extraordinary, exciting dance for a new generation. It's fast-paced, fun and full of scintillating scenes you won't want to miss.


Ballet Black 2017 Triple Bill tour dates

Tickets cost Standard £14 / Conc £10 / Under 25's £8
Duration: 90 mins

May 25 - 26 at 8pm
Patrick Centre in Birmingham Hippodrome,

Other tour dates are:

June 2 - 3 - 7:30 pm
DanceEast, Foundry Ln, Ipswich

June 5 - 7:30 pm
Salisbury Festival
Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury

June 22 - 7:45 pm
Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham
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Why? See fantastic creative modern ballet
When: May 25-26
Phone: Various theatres , see list
Where: Patrick Centre in Birmingham Hippodrome
Cost: Varies. See list
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