Dance review: Ballet Black at the Tramway, Glasgow
Mary Brennan – Dance critic 4****
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 who have just ended a short Scottish tour. If the seven-strong company of black and Asian dancers can readily impress us with well-honed technique across a range of styles – including pointe-work – they can also channel narrative drama and deliver mischievous comedy with a similar elan. Their double bill featured both kinds of story-telling with Cathy Marston’s The Suit fore-grounding adulterous passions and tragic revenge while Arthur Pita’s A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream (2014) took Shakespeare’s comedy in wittily wayward directions.
Tutus and a courtly balletic response to Handel are the springboard for Arthur Pita’s delicious upheaval of amorous attraction in The Dream. With flurries of glitter dust, Isabela Coracy’s Puck – a subversively helpful Boy Scout – pairs the wandering lovers off as same-sex couples, releases their inner groove-factor to seductive songs by Yma Sumac, Eartha Kitt, Streisand and others, thereby filling the stage with another kind of unexpected match: Pita’s flair for putting classical gambits in step with unlikely rhythms and lyrics. It’s tremendous fun, frisking along on some seriously clever choreography – sparkily performed by a company that we’d love to see come back again, soon.