Fourteen Days, the most recent BalletBoyz show, is a dynamic performance with an intriguing premise: four choreographers, four composers, and 14 days to create four new works. Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, the current directors of the company, only provided one theme: balance. The result is a widely varied show with an equally varied amount of success.
The first piece, The Title is in the Text by Javier De Frutos, is the most explicitly connected to the theme featuring a giant seesaw as its dominant prop. From the very beginning, each member of the company is in a battle with gravity, leaping onto the seesaw only to be weighed down by dancers pulling on the other end. The company is also in conflict with each other, as each dancer tries to gain dominance over the giant set piece. As each male dancer is particularly athletic and powerful, this fight for superiority is riveting and utterly entertaining to watch.
This work lies in direct contrast to the most exceptional piece in the show, Christopher Wheeldon’s heart-wrenching pas de deux, Us. The pair of dancers, made up in this performance by the incredible Jordan Robson and Bradley Waller, expertly explore the fragile balance between two people in a relationship. Their movement varies wildly, from the touching of fingertips to knocking each other down just to pick each other back up again. Wheeldon is not only addressing balance in his theme but also in his choice of motion. The ending left the audience, including myself, close to tears.
Unfortunately, these pieces overshadow the other two commissions, Human Animal by Iván Pérez and The Indicator Line by Craig Revel Horwood. The former is an astonishing feat of stamina but lacks a clear connection to the theme of balance. The latter is a moving story of men and war that is made less impactful by jazz choreography, which sticks out among the other pieces. Both are in need of more narrative clarity, especially following the story of love and mourning told by Wheeldon. However, they both display the strength and ability of the 11-man company, making them a joy to watch nonetheless.
The show is concluded by Russell Maliphant’s Fallen, the most unreservedly beautiful piece in the show. All of the aspects of the performance, not just the dancing, have been tailored and refined since the piece was created for the company in 2013. The dramatic lighting emphasizes the distinct and intricate formations in Maliphant’s choreography. One of the most stunning moments in the piece comes in the very beginning when the company forms an interlocking circle that moves in perfect harmony with Armand Amar’s score.
Although the robustness and athleticism of the company is again displayed at the end of the work, it is in these quieter moments that the BalletBoyz shine.
Balletboyz’s Fourteen Days
Photo Credit: Panayiotis Sinnos