Ballet Black is a dance company with a difference. For starters, they have recently collaborated on a new brown satin ballet shoe, which – unbelievably – wasn’t available for dancers of colour until now. And aside from their cultural impact as an award-winning, neo-classical ballet company made up of international dancers of black and Asian descent, their performances are completely mesmerising.
In a touring double bill of drama and wit, Ballet Black (founded in 2001), a company of seven, punches above its weight. Having reviewed the company three consecutive years in a row, I missed this bill at the Barbican in March and, lo, here’s a lucky chance to catch up with it in Kingston.
Ballet Black remind us powerfully that in these times of increasing division and intolerance talent knows no boundaries of race or gender. They show us that we need to challenge those who seek to thwart ambition on false grounds of race, gender or orientation and they help us to celebrate the joyous talent and skills of this group of dancers…
Never before has a suit, simply dressing a hanger had so much presence, and it becomes the eighth person in the company.
Ballet Black may be a small company — there are only seven dancers — but its influence is far greater than its size…Times are changing, albeit slowly, and the Ballet Black dancers show children from different ethnic backgrounds that ballet is something they can seriously consider as a career.
It’s a production which typifies what Ballet Black is all about. Founded to provide roles for black and Asian dancers, it blends traditional ballet’s exacting discipline and contemporary dance’s inventiveness with virtuosity and elegance.
In a flurry of glitter, he turns Shakespeare’s romantic comedy on its head, with same-sex relationships and a cracking soundtrack, although it’s the beauty of Titania and Bottom’s duet that’s most striking of all.
Small in size, but simply charged with far-reaching aspirations and brimming over with high end talent: that, more or less, sums up the London-based Ballet Black…
While Coracy gives a show-stealing performance, the rest of the cast are also extremely funny. Their burlesque manner is smattered with audible gasps, loud snores, squeals and over-the-top facial expressions.
There are some gorgeous scenes, particularly within the pulsing jazzier interludes, and the ensemble are superb..
Monday night’s double bill from Ballet Black was a game changer, an evening of dance that raised standards to an impressive new high and left the audience whooping and yelling for more.