Against Time with the English National Ballet and Flawless | Ballet reviewCultureTheatre
The English National Ballet and Flawless presented on Friday 1st at HMV Apollo Theatre their new joint production Against Time.
The show is a mixture of street dance and ballet, with multimedia projections and pop music. This exceptional collaboration features one of the best-known and acclaimed dance crews and one of the more prestigious schools of ballet. Marion “Swoosh” Wallen choreographed Flawless street dances, while Jenna Lee looked after the ballet.
The Academy of Excellence is the set for Against Time. This is a school where a nasty watchmaker makes plans to stop time and consequently stop dancing forever.
At the Academy, Flawless ended up in school detention, misbehaving with break dancing. Unexpectedly, like in a mystical dream, tutu-wearing garden animals came on stage representing a nice change of atmosphere. At the watchmaker’s house, students encountered a Pierrot doll and soon after, a masked ball with beautiful shining costumes started.
Flawless dancers have a spectacular control of their bodies, with an incredible precision of movements. Their acrobatic back flips and headstands show all their strength and talent. On the other end, the ENB ballerinas with their elegant pirouettes and effortless-looking split leaps seem tame in comparison. But then, when the Flawless dancers attempt few ballet steps, the difficulties of the classical technique appear immediately clear.
The performance showcased the collision of two worlds – ballet and street dance – as shown before in movies like Street Dance, where street dancers and ballerinas have a quasi rivalry, with cue dance-offs, and light teasing. This theme is particularly present at the beginning of the show.
The idea behind this was an attempt to mix two completely different genres of dance to a further level. This experiment was far from perfect and showed more of street heavy performance in the first part, but a definitely more balanced outcome in the second half of the show.
Despite exceptional technique and execution for both Flawless and ENB, the show lacks a strongly built storyline. This might be due to the few months used to pull it together. However, its amazing outcome has been helping to make dance and ballet accessible to all, in an informal venue.
Against Time is now touring the UK and will be back to London at London’s New Theatre in Wimbledon from 23rd-24th June. Book your tickets here.