The Upcoming, 21 March 2016

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Reviewer: Laura Ewing

Ballet Black debuted its 2016 triple bill at the Barbican Centre this weekend before commencing its UK tour, showcasing grace and ingenuity to eager spectators. Each of the three performances delve into intriguing themes and are set to unusual, captivating music.

Ballet Black, a professional ballet company for international dancers of black and Asian descent, has been working hard for 15 years to bring ballet to a more culturally diverse audience by celebrating minority dancers. Creatively directed by founder Cassa Pancho and choreographed by Arthur Pita and Christopher Marney, the group’s latest production is split into three striking routines. Whilst all three narratives were very different, the artists skilfully execute each of the dances with elegance, determination and passion.

The first, Cristaux, explores the mesmerising light and beauty that radiates from crystals. Dancers Cira Roinson and Mthuthuzeli Novemer expertly translated these ideas, keeping the audience transfixed with their simple yet sparkling performance. Second on the bill, To Begin, Begin wove together the journeys of romantic relationships in a watery, dreamlike fashion. Finally, the troupe took to the stage to perform Storyville, a dramatic and mysterious story set in New Orleans. The sequence of events in the final ballet follows young dancer Nola as she is torn between her sailor lover and her controlling bosses, Lulu White and Mack, who appear in Nola’s dreams as a Voodoo king and queen. This was ultimately the standout performance, completely charming theatre-goers in a thoroughly engaging finale.

Ballet Black’s 2016 triple bill has something to please everyone, from the seasoned ballet-lover to those completely new to contemporary dance. Book now to experience this beautiful phenomenon as the troupe embark on their UK tour.