The Stage, 25th March 2010

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Ballet Black
Published Thursday 25 March 2010 at 11:00 by Terry O’Donovan

Ballet Black’s sixth season at the Linbury Studio Theatre is a mixed bag of playful and energetic approaches to ballet.

Clad in black, the six-strong company conveys a rich sense of sorrow overcome by passion in Henri Oguike’s opening piece. They swirl in time with Bach’s Solo Cello Suite and the men sweep the women off their feet, charging weightlessly offstage with the ladies’ feet elevated a body’s length above their partner’s heads. Less effective is Raymond Chai’s And Thereafter, where the closing image is his most effective. Jade Hale-Christofi stands alone and still in a tight pool of light while the other three bodies flicker and twist in the darkness – a beautiful image of finding peace within the chaos of life.

Human Revolution is the highlight, in which Cira Robinson and Jazmon Voss exude a palpable raw energy. Choreographer Robert Hylton – who also composed the sub-standard electro music which accompanies the piece – is experimenting with the ballet form, infusing it with elements of contemporary and hip hop. Robinson is a revelation as she eyeballs the audience and focuses our attention on the tiniest flickers of movement, while Voss wows with his ability, performing a stunning quadruple pirouette.

Christopher Hampson rounds things up nicely with the light-hearted Sextet – six scenes bursting with energy. The most affecting is Lovers, in which a couple meet, fall in love and make love. When the pair kiss, it is surprising and moving – something Ballet Black should continue to strive for in their future work.