BalletBoyz in the ’Hood
London’s contemporary dance company assemblés in LA this weekend.
by Helen Peppard
Coming to the Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center this weekend, Nov. 7–9, is one of the most spectacular young dance companies touring the world these days: BalletBoyz, a 15-year-old contemporary-dance company from London.
Its founders, William Trevitt and Michael Nunn, trained at Britain’s elite Royal Ballet School—Trevitt began at the school at age 10, Nunn at age 15—then danced with Britain’s Royal Ballet Company for a number of years. But the two felt attracted to a wider dance vocabulary, one that would appeal to non-balletomanes, that would be accessible and entertaining to the man on the street, so to speak. Their company grew out of a project they were hired to do for the Ovation Network, a seven-part series of programs exploring different styles and concepts of movement, titled eventually A Chance to Dance.
The dancers they assembled for this project—10 young male dancers between the ages of 18 and 26, now referred to as “The Talent”—were picked for their expressiveness as well as their strength, and the company Trevitt and Nunn have today still displays those characteristics. While ballet training is not a requirement for their dancers, those bodies reflect a strength that often comes only through the rigors of classical ballet training. The choreography is extremely athletic and full of breathtaking and unexpected moves, following a trend in contemporary dance to astound the viewer with seemingly impossible, even daredevil tricks. Trevitt refers to his dancers as edgy, versatile technicians.
But Trevitt and Nunn have additional tricks up their sleeves. Originally to fill in spots in their work when dancers needed to be offstage, for example to change costumes, the duo began to use films of the dancers rehearsing or chatting or revealing themselves as just people, which Trevitt and Nunn thought would make the audience feel more comfortable with the troupe. The films have been a very popular feature. Also, rather than setting movement to music or vice versa, the duo commissions music that complements the dance, as does the lighting, which has been described as exquisite by more than one reviewer.
From the beginning, the directors wanted to engage other choreographers for their company, though they still occasionally create pieces themselves. The two pieces they’ll bring to the Ahmanson are works by Liam Scarlett (Serpent) and Russell Maliphant (Fallen).
Meanwhile, much of their time these days is taken up with the operation of a huge complex they acquired two and a half years ago: originally an old aircraft factory they’ve turned it into two studios, one for their company rehearsals and one for classes for the public.
In their continuing drive to assimilate dance into the lives of the entire population, says Trevitt, they bring as many different artistic mediums as there are to create a world where everyone will not just partake and enjoy and appreciate the arts, but where it will be part of their lives.
November 3, 2014
The following have generously supported ArtsInLA.com....
NEW THIS WEEK
* Theater reviews of The Vortex, Kinky Boots, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Completeness
* Theater reviews of Into the Woods, Blithe Spirit, What the Butler Saw, Possum Carcass, Bob's Holiday Office Party and more