BalletBoyz, The Talent

The Talent is an eight man line up of contemporary and classical dancers who are part of the BalletBoyz company, founded in 2001. The Talent is a three piece programme and has been touring since 2010 and won the 2011 London Dance Award. Their repertoire is made up of Russell Maliphant’s ‘Torsion’, Paul Roberts ‘Alpha’ and Jarek Cemerek’s ‘Void’. The company performed the Talent at the Grand Opera House in York on 10 March.

As a big fan of Robert North’s ‘Troy Game’ and Dein Perry’s ‘Tap Dogs’, I was bound to expect a lot from an all-male dance company and in many ways the repertoire of talent met and exceeded my expectations. The Talent is very distinct from what I’ve seen before in that it doesn’t go out of its way to be masculine. Of course, it inherently is; take eight well-built dancers, let them take their tops off and leave their tattoos uncovered and it’s masculine. The movement, however, is a different story; in all three dances there is a lot of contact work that requires incredible strength, but the fluidity of the dancing saves it from simply being a game of brute force. There is something breath-taking in seeing a grown man drop to the floor from 6 feet and not make a sound.

The opening of Torsion, and the programme, was somewhat unoriginal. All the dancers were on stage, a spotlight on one or two at a time as the movement of their arms and torso was incredibly abstract. This went on for a while and I had a very firm sense of the familiarity of this choreography and so it was not quite as captivating as I felt it was supposed to be. Luckily, it was the very beginning and so could quickly be forgotten.


Torsion and Alpha made up the first half, and despite being by different choreographers, the movement style in both was very similar. The two pieces were very calm, thoughtful and sober, based significantly on duets. The variation was in the lighting, costume and music rather than in the movement. Independently, both boast captivating choreography, but alongside each other, it felt slightly flat.

Cemerek’s Void really stole the show. Film projection was used throughout the piece, at some moments suggesting a setting, whilst in others simply providing atmosphere. The use of lighting was dynamic and interesting; sometimes the dancers were silhouettes, then a moment later they were brightly lit and at the front of the stage. In Void, there was finally some raw and fearless emotion, the feelings of aggression and power were certainly running high and when the end came with an abrupt black out, I was on the edge of my seat. The most memorable scene was what can only be described as reminiscent of Fight Club. The dancers were throwing themselves and each other across the stage, and there was an incredible moment when Anthony Middleton threw himself through the air, sure of being caught four metres away by another dancer who was stood inches from the edge of the stage. Beautiful.

I can’t promise that you’ll remember this show for the rest of your life, but it is certainly an entertaining and enjoyable evening and I have no doubt at all that The Talent has so much more to offer.

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