By Rachel Gildea.

It was certainly not love at first sight. In fact, it was not until after the interval that The Ballet Boyz seduced me. Whilst the first half dazzled but did not reach me, the second engaged me so powerfully I was moved almost to tears. Their charm worked gradually on the audience, proving irresistible.

The first piece featured three dancers: two men and one sensational woman, Oxana Pancheko. Ironically, she stole the show. Broken Fall witnessed the men throwing her about the stage in a series of acrobatic stunts, but instead of breaking her fall they were merely platforms for her flight. The Times commented that they knew how to ‘put on a good show’, but sadly that was all it was. Aesthetically pleasing, but devoid of anything more substantial in terms of meaning.

Hasn’t dance moved on from that?

Yes it has; and thankfully during the second half, it did.

Three duets were charged with a vital ingredient: chemistry. Each piece explored different aspects of couple relationships – physical attraction, emotional struggle and fun. Edox was sexy. Remarkably in tune with each other, Oxana and Tim Morris conjured a sense of mutual desire, the long yearning notes of the cello intensifying the urgency of their lust. Oxana’s motif of rubbing her palms down her torso recalled Macbeth’s washing his hands of sin.

The pyrotechnics of the Broken Fall kept the audience on the outside of the experience, but the other three pieces provoked an emotional response, and that is when dance is best.

Balletboyz – Greatest Hits (Oxford Playhouse, Friday 23rd January 2009)

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