Somerset County Gazette, 15th April 2011

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Review: Ballet Black

9:06am Friday 15th April 2011 in What’s On

Ballet Black has come a long way in just ten years. The inspiration of founder Cassa Pancho, who recognised the distinct absence of Black and Asian classical ballet dancers, the group stopped off at the Brewhouse as part of their UK tour with a brand new choreographed Ballet, Orpheus.

The first half opened with an ensemble piece introducing the dancers as they performed a number of solos and duets entitled A New Beginning. A blood red lighting set and electronic music helped set the scene with choreography expressing the company’s classical ballet ability, fused with modern and jazz dance.

This was followed by Pendulum a powerful duet danced with both strength and agility to the haunting rhythmic sound of a pounding heartbeat.

Next Da Gamba, choreographed in 2010, danced to an atmospheric Cello Solo and finally Shift, an up-beat ballet jazz danced in white sports underwear providing an athletic vibrancy suitable for the Olympic stage.

The second half, Orpheus, provided a perfect vehicle for this small and talented company. Without the benefit of lavish sets or a large chorus, Ballet Black gave an admirable account of this classic, with a beguiling and expressive characterization of the roles. Clever cut away skirted cloaks emphasized the slender balletic poise of both male and female dancers with graceful elegance.

Throughout the evening the company evoked classical ballet with plenty of piroutes, pas de deux, and stunning point work, without the formality and stuffiness of traditional ballet, making this performance an accessible and enjoyable experience.