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Ballet Boyz: Fourteen Days review at Sadler’s Wells – ‘an intriguing concept’

Javier Frutos’ The Title is in the Text, part of Fourteen Days at Sadler's Wells
Javier Frutos’ The Title is in the Text, part of Fourteen Days at Sadler's Wells
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Four choreographers and 14 days for each to create a work. The concept behind BalletBoyz latest programme is straightforward enough – the results are wildly different.

The work that rises to the challenge is Christopher Wheeldon’s Us. Sweeping movements contrast with minute gestures, bringing a poetic quality to the piece. When dancers Jordan Robson and Bradley Waller fall into each other’s embrace it is with a mournful longing that is enhanced by Keaton Henson’s heartfelt score. It is a tender and beautiful duet.

The other three works are less remarkable. Performed on a see-saw, Javier Frutos’ The Title is in the Text holds potential. Frutos plays with ideas of balance and support but any reason behind the dancers’ actions remains obscure. Accompanied by Scott Walker’s jarring soundtrack – an amalgamation of high-pitched opera, choral work and speech – it’s a tedious piece.

Despite a stirring score of strings and driving rhythms, the movement of Ivan Perez’ Human Animal remains restrained. Five dancers parade like a herd of horses. The precise action of their feet is developed, reformed and reversed, but the result feels a waste of Joby Talbot’s striking orchestration.

In contrast, Craig Revel Horwood’s offering lacks nuance but is at least entertaining. The Indicator Line is a dramatic, showy affair marked by testosterone-fuelled face-offs and a jazzy, brass heavy score.

The four world premieres are accompanied by Russell Maliphant’s Fallen (2013), an intense, atmospheric work of supple, rolling movement. It’s a worthwhile addition.

At a time when the absence of commissions for female choreographers is the topic of debate, a programme focused upon men is a striking choice. In this instance it highlights the necessity for a more varied palette of artists.

Verdict
Ballet Boyz presents an intriguing project that yields mixed results
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