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BalletBoyz: The Talent at Sadler's Wells

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by Kym Hamer (subscribe)
Kym is an Aussie sheila who came to the UK, set down her swag, and stayed. Check out her everyday moments at
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10 ballet boys ooze & spar across 2 inspiring works
BalletBoyz is a dance company created in 2001 by Michael Trevitt and Billy Nunn. Their TALENT project was launched in 2010 by selecting a group of male dancers with varying backgrounds to mentor and coach. Last night I was off to Sadler's Wells to see a show featuring the latest recruits - 10 extraordinary 'Boyz' - in two powerful pieces.

The Talented Ten of 2013.

The show begins with a work by critically acclaimed rising star Liam Scarlett. A former First Artist with the Royal Ballet, Liam began his public transition to choreographer with a nomination for an Olivier Award in 2010 for his debut piece Asphodel Meadows. At the end of 2012 he was offered an artist-in-residence position with the Royal Ballet giving him the platform to launch himself full-time into choreography and will show his first full length ballet in May 2013.

Liam Scarlett
Rising star, Liam Scarlett overseeing rehearsals,

Serpent is striking and sensual from the first moment. Invoking the fluidity and menace of one of nature's most feared creatures, the ten male dancers slither, leap and entwine to form a mesmerising vision.

Liam Scarlett, Serpent, BalletBoyz
Scarlett's Serpent: a synergy of male form and sinuous movement.

It's unusual to see duets danced by a male pair - the power and masculinity of the movement is different from the light and shade in traditional male-female pairings. I was captivated and when it all ended 40 minutes later, I felt like I had seen something like a coming of age for this brave and brilliant young choreographer.

BalletBoyz, Liam Scarlett, Serpent
BalletBoyz performing Liam Scarlett's Serpent in 2013.

The second half of the show features Fallen, a work by award-winning choreographer Russell Maliphant. This work is more industrial in feel, an adventure which dips and soars and spars in dimly lit alleys. Maliphant is well-known for his association with lighting designer Michael Hulls and Fallen's shadowy feel owes much to this partnership between form and effect.

Fallen, Russell Maliphant, BalletBoyz
Industrial shadows abound in Maliphant's Fallen.

This is a more exuberant piece than Scarlett's. There's less subtlety in the menace and I found myself taken to darkened streets where gang versus gang posture and parlay over territory and reputation.

Fallen, Russell Maliphant, BalletBoyz
Fallen evokes a feeling of gang versus gang.

The two pieces are brilliant and shown together like this, the subtle differences of each work across the same single-sex company are very powerful. There's a greater sense of excitement and creative tension in Fallen which got my heart pounding but it was in the exquisiteness of Serpent that I lost myself completely.

BalletBoyz is at Sadler's Wells until March 13th and then continues its tour to Leicester and Cambridge during the balance of the month. You'll find tour dates on the website -
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Why? Riveting & powerful
When: until 23rd March 2013
Phone: 0844 412 4300
Where: Sadler's Wells until March 13th then touring
Cost: 12-38
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