The London-based ballet troupe BalletBoyz returns with Life – a double-bill featuring two new commissions co-produced by Sadler’s Wells: Rabbit by Swedish choreographer and film-maker Pontus Lidberg and Fiction by veteran Venezuelan dance-maker Javier de Frutos.
The 90-minute performance – presented by Dance Victoria — comes alive with an all male cast of 10 dancers set against an original musical score.
Life – which opens Jan. 20 at the Royal Theatre—is a showcase of pure athleticism and muscular grace.
It is a performance of two halves that takes an elegant, powerful and often humorous look at life and death.
“The inspiration for Rabbit came initially from the score. Pontus Lidberg had wanted to create a work with this music for a long time, so when we gave him the theme of life he was delighted to finally use it. Pontus always imagined a child like swing when listening to the score and the piece developed from there,” said BalletBoyz founders Michael Nunn and William Trevitt explained.
In addition, Lidberg upped the creative ante and created rabbit headdresses for the dancers to wear during the Rabbit performance.
“The head dress for Rabbit was extremely challenging at first, there is very little peripheral vision and they become pretty hot. The dancers wore the heads for most of the rehearsal and still do to this day,” the co-founders said. “They have to use a tremendous amount of body memory, it’s a bit like dancing with the light off.”
For Fiction, de Frutos wanted to focus on the emotions associated with the aftermath of death. In order for the themes to feel authentic he chose to draw inspiration from his own – hypothetical —death.
De Frutos commissioned a British dance critic to write a truthful obituary about himself.
“The idea (was) he passed away during the creative process and the reactions of the cast, how they coped with the loss, was of interest to him, this is a very funny piece of work,” Nunn and Trevitt said.
BalletBoyz is pushing the conventional expectations of ballet and expanding it into the classical dance world as choreographers continue to break the boundaries between old and new movement vocabulary.
“Here at BalletBoyz we have always wanted our work to be seen by the widest audience possible, and to do that it has to be of the highest quality and packaged in such a way as to not frighten people away. We create entertainment and our audiences are at the centre of our creative ideas,” Nunn and Trevitt said.