Red is such a fun piece demonstrating how the company can deliver both light and shade in equal measure as well as nailing the characterisation. Hopefully this will live long in their expanding repertoire.
This was an altogether outstanding evening: an admirably varied and testing, showcase for the all-round talents of this remarkable company. The sense of a special occasion was reflected in the buzz among the audience at the end amid a desire for a return visit before long.
Ballet Black are a rare commodity in the dance world. Not because they’re a ballet company made up exclusively of black and Asian dancers – although that’s inspiring in itself – but because they’re a small-scale chamber ballet company with a mission to commission new work, operating without any of the infrastructure bigger companies take for granted.
Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s new take on Red Riding Hood is the kind of ambitious one-act storytelling creation that gives Ballet Black its distinctive advantage in the independent dance scene. The piece has a vibrant atmosphere, dynamic choreography, deliciously entertaining music, standout performances and a sense of dark fun. And it’s almost a runaway success.
The eight Ballet Black dancers are some of Britain’s hardest workers and this programme shows them at their best: accomplished, versatile and great communicators. Their audiences too are growing. A poll at the after show talk showed a considerable number of first timers, satisfied customers that will hopefully broaden the appeal of ballet.
The innuendos come thick and fast. How come she has only one flower when the saucy burlesque girls have two each? And grandmother is played en travesti by José Alves on pointe. The facts of life confuse, but isn’t a bad boy with that hip-hop rolling gait irresistible; does she love it!
And so Pancho lands another successful evening’s programme. There is enough here for traditionalists and contemporary fans alike to be satisfied, as well as material strong enough to showcase these elegant yet athletic dancers to the best of their great abilities.