BalletBoyz: Life at Sadler’s Wells Theatre
Straddling the stage alone, reflecting on the lonely beginning of life itself before the chaos of the world joins in, is the esoteric start of BalletBoyz’ latest production. In its limited four-day run at Sadler’s Wells Theatre (before embarking on a UK wide tour), Life offers new perspectives on learning how to live and the punishment of grief in death.
Choreographed by Swedish dancer and film-maker Pontus Lidberg and the critically acclaimed Javier de Frutos, Life combines haunting, original live music with a tortured tale. Performed by a ten-strong all-male group, locked bodies are juxtaposed with breathless vaults. The first half (choreographed by Lidberg) is reminiscent of Wonderland, where dancers, adorned in rabbit masks, reflect the perils of temptation, teasing with pulls and pushes. Dancing in pairs, every part of the stage is covered in frenetic movement, signalling the battle of holding on and letting go of memories. In contrast, their collective weightless lifts are as delicate as the orchestral score, with the idea of escapism being re-invented in new ways. The sudden impacts involved in life and death are beautifully illustrated with stunning twists and twirls delivered with equal force. Lidberg’s choreography demands personal interpretation, like life itself.
The second half of the show is strengthened with Frutos’ Fiction, the narrative becoming clearer and letting the dancers recite words with their bodies. The inspiring swings along the barre, varied with technical precision and imaginative lines, make it an impressive performance to watch. Endless rotations in unison echo the stages of grief in death, pushing the narrative into focus. The fluidity of an all-male group is prominent as the chain reaction of movements between one another is almost identical. At times, the replication can be dizzying to watch but is executed with tremendous skill.
Life is a rewarding watch, offering a profound insight into the processing of death.
BalletBoyz: Life is on at Sadler’s Wells Theatre from 20th until 24th April 2016. Book your tickets here.
Watch a trailer for the production here: