Review: Balletboyz at the Lichfield Garrick

BalletBoyz Directors Michael Lunt and William Trivett met at the Royal Ballet Upper School and joined the Royal Ballet together in 1987. During their 12 years there they danced many of the male leading roles in the ballet repertoire. Then in 2000 they co-founded BalletBoyz, and since then the company has danced all over the world winning numerous awards as well as collaborating with leading dancers, choreographers and designers.

I last saw them as long ago as 2005 when their programme ‘Naked’ came to Birmingham Hippodrome. At that time the troupe wasn’t exclusively male, in fact it starred Monica Zamora from Birmingham Royal Ballet’s line-up. But now here they are again on a long-haul British tour which has caught the interest of dance lovers up and down the country with a vibrantly all-male ensemble and Lichfield was no exception with a packed main house for their excitingly contemporary show.

BalletBoyz

BalletBoyz

The evening’s first offering was a short piece, Rabbit by Pontus Lindberg with music by Gorecki. Here grey-garbed All Saints-styled modern men were matched against their lop-eared human-sized rabbit counterparts in a series of animalistic duets which allowed them to channel their inner playful but unpredictable rodents. Short but elegantly conceived and executed.

The evening’s longer second offering Fiction by Javier de Frutos to a Ben Foskett score was nearer the recognisably modern world than is usually the case with current choreographic offerings. Here a number of young men worked out their destinies and idiosyncrasies at the parallel bars rather than the balletic barres in a work placed firmly in the world of athletics, set in the gym where these athletes do their training.

Dance references abounded but the emphasis was quite simply on pure movement, intense, muscular, masculine and full of hard-won coups de theatre which earned rapturous applause from a deliriously enthusiastic audience.

All in all, a breath of balletic fresh air.

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