BalletBoyz Fourteen Days Premiere at Sadler’s Wells

BalletBoyz’ FOURTEEN DAYS presents four new pieces that were created and set on company members within two weeks. Inspired by the concept of “balance,” choreographers commissioned by BalletBoyz’ artistic directors were matched with a composer to making a dance piece with accompanying sound score. Although the time constraint challenged the artists, the unique and varied work showcased in FOURTEEN DAYS demonstrates that stage-worthy choreography can be produced in just 2 weeks’ time.

The Title is in the Text 

Chords from a stereotypical horror movie soundtrack strike the audience, mingling with soured gospel notes, incomprehensive murmuring, shrill railroad alarms and repetitive spoken word segments. The group of dancers seek balance on a teeter-totter, frozen in arabesque or deep in plié. Breaking from dramatic moments of stillness, the dancers parade up and slide down the slope; sometimes they fall off the incline into the arms of their comrades. The experimental feel peaks as one performer shoves a seated dancer, creating a Domino effect as everyone’s torso topples over. The final teeter-totter action of finding balance in the flux caps off a playful movement study by Javier De Frutos.


Photo Credit: Panayiotis Sinnos.

Human Animal

Rather than exaggerating animalistic characteristics within humans, Iván Pérez’ Human Animal highlights the peculiarities of human nature in a sophisticated maner. A lead dancer rhythmically strides on stage and lazily paws the ground like a horse. As the pattern repeats, a quartet joins, showcasing their bare legs and emphasising their bipedal nature. The synchronised choreography seems ingrained, perhaps innate, as they circle stage in more intricate patterns, maintaining their natural order. I imagine a narrator discussing the quirky habits of humans over the stimulating instrumental music. He would describe their unique rituals and physical qualities over raw footage of the human group, instinctively flocking like birds and schools of fish.


Photo Credit: Panayiotis Sinnos.


Us, the intimate duet choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, personifies complete harmony. Jordan Robson and Brad Waller flow across the stage, shifting from lifts into firm counterbalance. But there are quiet moments, too, that focus on touch as the duo cradle each other and trace each other’s body. The partners move as mirrored images, locking their bodies into each other, maintaining contact. However, even whilst moving as individuals, the performers maintain a sense of togetherness. As they melt and reach through Keaton Henson’s sentient string score, the dancers gravitate towards each other, their centres aligning to raise and catch. Us demonstrates a strong relationship built upon unity and cooperation.


Photo Credit: Panayiotis Sinnos.

The Indicator Line  

Craig Revel Horwood’s The Indicator Line opens with moody lighting and jazz music, and the theatrics continue to escalate from there. A sequence of pirouettes temporarily placates my confusion, but the dancers dramatically gesticulate and dive into a characterisation of flamenco. A rhythmic fake fight erupts and a man in a red jacket comically knocks out his fellow performers with energetic kicks and sloppy hooks. Perhaps the piece focuses more on emotional instability than physical balance? The audience chuckles as the beat up sods compose themselves, and they anticipate a humorous revenge scene. But the red coat is flung off and the cast gallops along the stage, throwing their arms up. The piece intrigues, yet remains a mystery.


Photo Credit: Panayiotis Sinnos.


While the first half of the show features pieces created in fourteen days, the second half resurrects Russell Maliphant’s Fallen, which won the award for Best Modern Choreography at the National Dance Awards in 2013. Fallen highlights the athleticism of the BalletBoyz cast with floor work phrases and snaps up to handstand. Solos and duets demonstrate the nuanced articulation of the body, but Fallen climaxes as the dancers fill the stage with a flurry of movement. A bit too soon, the cast regroups in a circle to close the piece.


FOURTEEN DAYS is playing at Sadler’s Wells from 10 October – 14 October. Showings begin at 19:30, and a matinee is available at 14:30 on the last day. The performance lasts 1 hour and 40 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission, and ticket prices run from £12 – £40.


Photo Credit: Panayiotis Sinnos.

Disclosure: Up&AtEm Travel was provided show admission to ‘Fourteen Days’ for an honest review. To work with me for reviews, guest blogs, social media marketing and more – contact me for a personalised quote.  

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