‘Ballet Black’ review – striking and intimate

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‘Ballet Black’ review – striking and intimate

Ballet Black’s 2016 triple bill at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds is a sparkling performance that thoroughly deserves its standing ovation. Whether it is the overall elegance of the dancers or the hypnotic way in which they move, Ballet Black have their audience absolutely mesmerised.

The first piece, ‘Cristaux’, is a beautiful duet that is only enhanced by the dancer’s Swarovski crystal tutu. The combination of the glittering light reflections and the couple’s synchronisation creates a magical vision of light and shadows that is not to be missed. But, what really makes this piece so captivating is the focus on the dancer’s movements and the shapes that their bodies create, due to the simplicity of the staging and lack of props. Similarly, the second piece, ‘To Begin, Begin’, emphasises the liquidity of the ballerina’s dancing through the use of a floating blue piece of silk that is wafted over the stage.

‘The combination of the glittering light reflections and the couple’s synchronisation creates a magical vision of light and shadows that is not to be missed’

This combined with the romantic musical composition and the six dancers performing in couples creates a sombre tone, but ultimately feels very uplifting. Finally, the third piece entitled ‘Storyville’ follows a young girl’s downfall as she is manipulated by the people she works for, whilst trying to pursue love elsewhere. You will find more zest and anger in this narrative, but the ballet is still as elegant as the previous pieces, with just as tragic a conclusion.

Not only are Ballet Black providing a striking and intimate ballet, but this Black History Month they are proving that Black and Asian dancers are just as talented as any others. I would recommend this performance to anyone who thrives on an enchanting performance that you just cannot look away from. The dancers are graceful, the music is compelling and the choreography is truly original.

Olivia Longson

(Image courtesy of Ballet Black)

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