Fourteen Days – Balletboyz – Cheltenham Everyman REVIEW
In fourteen days you sleep for around 112 hours, eat 42 meals and go to work for 10 days. Pretty standard right? Balletboyz is here to put your fortnightly routine to shame by coming up with four incredible pieces in two short weeks.
The 11 men, or should I say “boyz”, executed these four pieces along with an old favourite to bring a well received dose of modern ballet to Cheltenham. Since it was founded in the 2000s they have shot to fame, challenging the status quo in ballet as they explore new ideas and concepts. .
The evening opened with Javier De Frutos’ The Title Is in the Text. The piece revolved around a large seesaw, with the men battling for power and authority on such a childlike object. The battle of control was told through gasp-inducing falls, stunts and moves. It was incredibly reliant on each member being there to counter the seesaw. Arabesques and Penchés were perfectly performed on the tilting beam as they defied gravity and toyed with balance. It was easy to see them experimenting and exploring this prop as if we were watching them in rehearsals. There wasn’t as much of a story here, but for me it was a favourite.
The second piece was Human Animal and was a chance to show off the precision and detail in their movements. Animalistic and fluid movements paired with cantering-style movements were accompanied by mesmerising music to create mysterious atmosphere.
Simply titled Us, the third piece was a story told many a time. The love story duet was brimming with emotion and effortless poise. ? and ? matched for strength and control as they lift each other into the air. This felt like the most focused piece, both intimate and passionate, with a pin drop style atmosphere which contrasted with the final performance .
The Indicator Line choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood (yes, the mean one from Strictly…) is a bold and bright. The boys trade in their ballet shoes for clogs and attempt their Grade 1 tap dancing moves. Tap steps and shuffle ball changes were effective and domineering in the Prison Break style storyline.
After the interval returned an old classic of Balletboyz in the form of Russell Maliphant’s 2013 work Fallen. Personally I interpreted the piece as a tale of a family of young men as soldiers as they carried each other through the battle. The most complex and creative piece by far, and I did enjoy it, I just felt it needed a clearer emotional arc.
Due to the short preparation period this show allows you an insight into their creative process. Each piece showed a different strength and a shed light on another side of the ensemble, keeping the audience gripped throughout. Fourteen Days is powerful and dynamic and I highly recommend it to both ballet lovers and ballet newcomers.
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