Ballet Black: Atmospheric, fun and enchanting
Review by Sabrina Johnson
On its first visit to Norwich, Ballet Black delivers an engaging, atmospheric and immensely entertaining show of two halves.
Founded in 2001, by Cassa Pancho, Ballet Black’s aim is to bring ballet to a wider and more culturally diverse audience by celebrating black and Asian ballet dancers.
The company’s current programme opens with Cathy Marston’s The Suit, based on Can Themba’s short story of the same name, The Suit tells the story of a married Johannesburg couple, Matilda and Philemon.
One morning Philemon, leaves for work as usual but shortly after departing returns home to pick up his briefcase which he has absentmindedly forgotten. Returning home he discovers Matilda in bed with her lover, Simon, who flees the scene, leaving his suit behind.
Caught in the act, Matilda begs her husband for forgiveness, who in turn deals with the situation by telling Matilda to take care of the clothes.
The suit quickly becomes a third entity in the relationship haunting Matilda’s dreams and joining the couple at dinner.
Never before has a suit, simply dressing a hanger had so much presence, and it becomes the eighth person in the company. The two lead dancers, playing Matilda and Philemon give fantastic performances, supported by their colleagues who help bring the suit to life and create the world of the South African couple.
A great score, which is actually the work nine separate composers stitched together brings pace while great lighting coupled with pared back staging creates an atmospheric piece which shows off the dancer’s athletic ability and storytelling capabilities.
The second piece of the evening A Dream Within A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is very different to the first.
Starting with a classical line-up of dancers on their points and dressed in tutus, the scene is suddenly disrupted by entrance of Isabela Coracy’s Puck who quickly creates havoc with an ample sprinkling of fairy dust.
Encouraged to snort glitter by Puck, the characters embark on fun flings with one another to the back drop of a lively score. Easily recognisably characters from the Shakespeare play make appearances and the whole piece is immensely entertaining.