Ballet BC review by Amy Stutz

Last night International Dance Festival Birmingham came to a close with a stunning triple bill from Ballet BC, an evening of three leading voices in contemporary dance.

Championing female choreographers, the three diverse pieces express different ideas through contemporary dance combined with ballet technique.

Ballet BC’s Artistic Director Emily Molnar opens the show with her choreographed piece titled 16+ A Room, a performance that explores the use of space and time. Inspired by writings of Virginia Woolf, the piece questions the idea of time and where the beginning and end meet. Opening with a dancer walking across the stage with a sign reading This Is Not The End, Molnar has experimented with rapid punchy movements and combined them with striking moments of stillness which convey an eery distorting feeling.

The dancers perform the piece in what resembles a strict uniform which portrays an urban feel, but contrastingly with the female dancers in their pointe shoes the costume reflects the whole piece – ballet technique with a powerful modern twist. The ensemble work together exceptionally to create a magnetic performance that appears electronic, each dancer is in sync and they perform as one but emotively they are isolated. Although there is a physical connection there isn’t an emotional one, which is conveyed through dance to portray dominant and strong individuals. Ending with the dancers swaying hypnotically as the lights flicker, it is an entrancing final movement that leaves you wanting more.

The second performance of the evening is titled Bill and choreographed by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar, the choreography is remarkable and tells a story intensely through movement. Her language is sensual and each movement exudes passion. The lighting compliments the piece beautifully, with a screen of falling rain framing the dancers, it is a highly absorbing creation of dance.

The chemistry between the dancers is exceptional, as they literally slip through each others hands and fall delicately onto one another. The fluidity of the piece creates a striking image as the dancers move both in unison and canon to create a visually engaging piece of dance.

The final performance of the night is choreographed by Crystal Pite and it is a powerful exploration of the body and it’s capabilities. Set to exquisite cello and piano music, it begins with a series of radiant solos and duets that are of a similar style but vary in expression. Strength and frustration is intertwined within feelings of curiosity and despair, these are all displayed through a sensational sequence of dynamic movement.

The beauty of the solo choreography is then echoed in an ensemble piece as 7 dancers join together to create a collective body that rise and disintegrate as one. There is a sense of yearning desperation to stay connected as they become a swarm of bodies pulsating together. Pite has created an utterly absorbing performance that uses the idea of conflict between ourselves and our bodies.

Ballet BC’s compelling triple bill breaks the boundaries of contemporary dance by creating a style that embraces the beauty of ballet.

Ballet BC is on at the Birmingham Hippodrome until the 21st of May and tickets can be found here.

All information for the International Dance Festival Birmingham can be found on the website. 

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