Reviewer: Lindsey Winship
It’s impossible not to like Ballet Black, a small company with big ideas. Director Cassa Pancho is committed to commissioning new contemporary ballet, and isn’t afraid of something a bit off the wall.
The wild card in this triple bill comes from Arthur Pita, a choreographer who does things with ballet you don’t see anywhere else.His piece Cristaux sees the company’s most accomplished dancer, Cira Robinson, playing an automaton- ballerina of cool, hard sparkle — matching the glitter of her Swarovski-studded tutu — with new apprentice dancer Mthuthuzeli November holding his own as they navigate the jangling metallic rhythms of Steve Reich’s Drumming Part III. It’s a short, peculiar but really striking piece.
The rest of this triple bill is more classic in tone. Christopher Marney’s To Begin, Begin, exploring the lifts and poses of the pas de deux, with lots of twirling to show off the girls’ bustle skirts but not too much bite. And a revival of Christopher Hampson’s likeable Storyville, where a young woman is corrupted by the big city in early 20th-century New Orleans. It’s a story with some familiar tropes but a few surprises (the first ballet with voodoo, perhaps?) and the most confidently danced piece of the night.