The final week of April brought thought-provokingly contrasted dance performances to Oxford. On Tuesday 23rd at the New Theatre the BalletBoyz performed their latest programme Them/Us, shortly to be opening for their first West End season at the Vaudeville Theatre. This two-part programme involves all six male dancers in both pieces. Opening the evening Them was a collaborative choreographic venture by the dancers drawing on elements of their own individual movement, sharing them in a succession of often playful episodes and exchanges. Set in a twilight zone, a gleaming stainless steel tubular cube framework and sleek satin shell suits brought enlivening geometric dashes of light and colour, red, blue, green and purple. The cube defined shifting spaces which the dancers could manipulate, inhabit, swing from and climb up. Movement combined sharp crisp gesture with a lyrical contemporary idiom, integrating tumbling and floorwork in response to Charlotte Harding’s lively but dark toned score; suggestions of character and relationship were glimpsed and a feeling of camaraderie and group identity emerged, even if overall the episodic structure of the piece did not build a sense of narrative or situational development. The performers conveyed lithe fluidity and a smooth assurance, distinct from the rawness of previous BalletBoyz ensembles; no longer projecting a company narrative of emerging talent and inexperienced diamonds in the rough, but a polished professional group. (more…)

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BalletBoyz’ programme of two short works at the New Theatre on Tuesday showcased the hugely energetic talent of this all-male dance company. Them, a collaborative work between the dancers and composer Charlotte Harding, gave the cast an opportunity to display their considerable technical skills. Harding has worked with BalletBoyz before (she paired with choreographer Craig Revel Horwood for The Indicator Line), and this was an adventurous and exciting work built around the possibilities offered by a giant cuboid scaffold, which the dancers turned and manipulated about the stage. A prop, a piece of scenery, a climbing frame, or simply a space to dance in; it was all these things, and also a source of metaphorical and literal suspense as the dancers’ movement controlled, (or was controlled by) it. At one point, a dancer lay across its lower bar, and was lifted up, suspended like a rag doll; later, he gripped it with one hand and rose suspended in the air above the stage as the structure slowly turned over. (more…)

THE internationally lauded dance troupe BalletBoyz return to the New Theatre Oxford this Spring with Them/Us, an innovative double bill and a brand new collaboration from the company’s own critically acclaimed dancers and the Olivier Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon.  BalletBoyz are known worldwide for their ground-breaking live performances, films and TV appearances. The new productions are both set to original scores by world-class composers and asks where we see ourselves in relation to the “other”.

Marking a first for BalletBoyz, Them is the work of the company’s very own in-house talent, and set to a score by emerging composer Charlotte Harding. Us is inspired by the critically acclaimed Christopher Wheeldon duet featured in the company’s last show, Fourteen Days. With an extended score by cult singer/songwriter, Keaton Henson, Christopher Wheeldon develops this new work which explores the possibilities of before, during and after.

Christopher Wheeldon, choreographer for Us, said: “I’m relishing the opportunity to work with BalletBoyz again to create a new work that expands on my previous work with the company, Us. It’s a pleasure to be working with Keaton Henson once again after his music for Us inspired me to investigate a new style of movement.”

The current BalletBoyz Company includes: Sean Flanagan, Benjamin Knapper, Harry Price, Liam Riddick, Matthew Sandiford and Bradley Waller.

Performance:  Tuesday 23rd April 7.30pm

Venue:  New Theatre, George Street, Oxford OX1 2AG

Tickets:  £13.00 – £35.00 plus £3.65 transaction fee

Book online here or in person from the Box Office, or call 0844 871 3020

Running time:  1 hour 20 mins (more…)

BALLETBOYZ  brand new production Life, which received its world premiere at London’s Sadler’s Wells in April 2016, comes to the New Theatre Oxford on Friday May 13.  The show features new commissions by Javier de Frutos and Pontus Lidberg. After opening at Sadler’s Wells where BalletBoyz are Associate Artists, the production will embark on a UK tour, followed by a tour of the USA in 2017. The piece is co-produced by Sadler’s Wells in association with artsdepot.

Performed by the award-winning all-male company of ten dancers, the show features an original score and the evening takes an elegant, powerful and provocative look at life and death, presented in BalletBoyz’ inimitable style. (more…)

A one night visit to the New Theatre by the BalletBoyz provided an opportunity to see the youthful male dance talent that they are nurturing in theTALENT, a double bill of works specially created for them.  Marcella Vigneri took her 10 year old son Ravi; here are their impressions.

Marcella writes:

It has been a wonderful evening of male-only dance performance, an event divided into two new works, Serpent choreographed by Royal Ballet Liam Scarlett and Fallen by Sadlers Wells Associate Artist Russell Maliphant.  Overall, what really impressed me was the perfect balance between musicality and strength in movement: both works offered an amazing presence of stage with 10 Ballet Boyz dancers (not all with a classical dance training) offering stylised lines, boldly constructed shapes, dynamic lifts and athletic jumps effortlessly performed off each others’ bodies. (more…)