Back touring the UK, the BalletBoyz are bringing their production of Fourteen Days to the regions with four brand new additional dance pieces.
I spoke to dancer Bradley Waller about the exciting production that brings together a range of choreographers who have produced a variety of pieces. Choreographed in just fourteen days, each piece is strikingly different and tests the dancers’ movement.
“We are quite a small company as there are only ten of us on stage so it is nice to explore each piece and such a range of movement,” Bradley said. With choreography by Javier de Frutos, Craig Revel Horwood, Iván Pérez, Christopher Wheeldon and Russell Maliphant, each of them play with the concept of balance and imbalance.
“We open with a piece by Javier de Frutos and each time we work with him, he has used props. The last piece he choreographed he used a barre, and this time he uses a seesaw,” Bradley explained. “He plays around with pushing the boundaries a little bit more and seeing how far we can take dance on stage and using it as a means to find new ways of moving and reacting on stage.”
The second piece called ‘Human Animal’ is choreographed by Iván Pérez which explores the movement of animals and their attraction to the wilderness. The third piece by Christopher Wheeldon is a duet created for Bradley and another dancer. “For Christopher, this was a very different way to create movement as he is used to doing the pas de deux with male and female partnering,” Bradley said. “But by partnering each other, both as males, the lifting and weight balance is really interesting to play around with.”
Bradley describes Craig Revel Horwood’s piece as very theatrical and explained how it is based on his hometown of Ballarat where his family were all goldminers. “We all wear clogs in the piece which is all very new to us,” he said. The final piece by Russell Maliphant is very contemporary and grounding. “It creates such an intense atmosphere on stage,” Bradley explained. “It is an exciting show with a lot of variety as each piece explores something very different.”
Bradley found the process of creating each piece really inspiring, and the different choreographers all approached the rehearsals very differently. “You’re always unsure how they will approach the piece until you get into the studio with them,” he said. “Javier really works with our personalities and likes to work with our characters and bring that out on stage, he will feed from us and get us to produce a lot of the movement and then he will direct it and make it work as a whole.
One of the guys in the company always said that Javier is like a painter and we are his paints and he uses us in a way to create the piece. Whereas you have a choreographer like Christopher Wheeldon who feeds a little bit off your movement but has a much clearer idea of what he wants.”
From a young age, Bradley wasn’t interested in dance until he was at the end of secondary school and went along to his sister’s hip-hop class. “For a long time I was reluctant to join in, but eventually I gave in and absolutely fell in love with it. I ended up going back every week and then when I told my mum I wanted to pursue dance even further, she told me I’d have to start ballet,” Bradley said. “After that, I joined a local class and did ballet every single night of the week after school and it took over my life.”
When Bradley was going into his third year at Rambert, an audition came up for BalletBoyz. He ended up getting to the end of the audition and the director asked him and two other guys to come back the following day to take company class. “At the time they were doing a regional tour and performing on the Thursday in Aylesbury. So I turned up thinking I was just going to take class and as we arrived one of the dancers had an injury,” he said.
“The director came up to us and said he wants us to take his laptop and learn the piece and if any of us learn it well enough then he will put us on stage. An hour before the show I had to try the costume on, and it fit, so I ended up going on stage the day after my audition.”
Bradley then joined them for the remainder of the tour whilst finishing his final studies and dissertation, and the rest was history. Delighted to be taking the production of Fourteen Days on tour, he said: “A lot of the work doesn’t have a set narrative, it isn’t made in a way that it tells a certain story, but I feel like as human beings we can’t help but make sense of things that we see. It is interesting to hear how the audience interprets the pieces.
I always say to people that have never been to dance that Ballet Boyz is a great company to come and see if you’ve never seen it. Think of it less as dance and more of an art form and an expression.”
The BalletBoyz are currently touring the UK and arrive at the Wolverhampton Grand on the 14th of May, tickets can be found online here.
For more information on the company and the rest of the tour, check out the BalletBoyz website.