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Titanium

Scene from Titanium. Photo: Rafa Abella Scene from Titanium. Photo: Rafa Abella
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Ballet, contemporary, Kathak, tango – dance has traditionally kept its different styles apart, but the critical and popular success of work such as Zero Degrees (kathak/street dance) and Push (capoeira/ballet) has prompted multiple attempts at mix and match, including this new show that splices flamenco and hip-hop.

It is the work of Spanish duo Angel Rojas and Carlos Rodriguez, who say that although flamenco and hip hop are stylistically very different, they both emerged from ordinary people in marginalised communities. The idea of the outcast and the outsider is common to both, as is improvisation and virtuosity alongside a street culture of display and sociability – and sometimes combat.

Titanium is a series of all-male dance numbers, some group, some solos and duets. They combine elements of flamenco and hip hop, with an urban setting and a gangland aesthetic. The six male dancers are a cross between the cast of Mad Max and Michael Jackson’s Thriller, with each number evoking an inner-city battle between rival gangs. The music, sections of which are played live by four musicians, combine flamenco and the beat of hip hop. The designs suggest a worn-out cityscape.

All this could add up to an entertaining display of street moves – some from Andalucia, some from the Bronx – but Titanium is more concerned with mood than virtuosity. The dancers are committed, but the choreography is often banal, with repetitive routines and exaggerated tough-guy gestures. Rather than synthesising the two dance forms into something new, the two styles seem uncomfortable strangers. And some of the props, such as the elastic ‘chains’, are dated.

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Verdict
Disappointing mix of flamenco and hip hop that fails to excel at either dance form
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