BalletBoyz is an all-male dance company based in London, set up over 10 years ago, that creates and performs various dance productions. The idea of an all-male ballet company is both interesting and rare, although the number of male ballet productions is steadily increasing – ‘Young Men’ is one of them.
This production is a contemporary ballet (with two women also in the performance, who were used very well but without becoming the focus), presenting the horrific events experienced by young men during the First World War. As expected from a male dance company, the ballet was dynamic and strong, but also surprisingly fluid too: the movements flowed so smoothly, and the dancers too from one partner to another.
The lighting and music was brilliant, and is something that needs to be spoken about when reviewing this production. It used a live orchestra, seated on the stage hidden behind a cage, with beautiful but haunting music by the English musician Keaton Henson. The stage was mostly lit from the side by strong spotlight-type lights, creating a great atmosphere with the shadows cast on the performers. It also used these lights from above towards the end, which I particularly enjoyed. Both the lighting and the music was used very effectively, which I loved!
What I disliked though was that for quite a lot of it the dancers were dancing different movements at the same time. Often they would dance duets simultaneously which, although were incredible with all the lifts and sliding on the floor, also became distracting and confusing. I didn’t know which duet to watch, so I found it difficult to focus on just one. I preferred it when everyone was dancing at the same time; it was more powerful, with greater strength and impact. Also, many of the moves were repeated a lot. This made it feel as if the dancers were just improvising (obviously they weren’t), which was also slightly off-putting.
It was really interesting to see a contemporary ballet (especially as I am a ballet dancer myself) and I was thoroughly impressed. It’s completely different to traditional ballet but still just as fascinating and interesting, if not more so.