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Edinburgh Fringe 2019

BalletBoyz: Them/Us

BalletBoyz and Something for the Weekend

Genre: Contemporary, Dance

Venue: Underbelly, Bristo Square


Low Down

“Award-winning all-male company makes an explosive Edinburgh debut. Created collaboratively by the BalletBoyz company dancers, Them explores the individuality that resides within each dancer and the versatility of movement which BalletBoyz are renowned for.”


In their debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the award-winning all-male company, BalletBoyz present a one-hour programme comprising two contrasting contemporary dance pieces, with a 5-minute break.

The opening piece, Them is a collaboration of choreography by the BalletBoyz Dancers with Charlotte Pook, Michael Nunn and William Trevitt and original musical composition by Charlotte Harding.

Wearing track-suit like costumes in shades of teal, navy, red, blue and purple and socks, this piece is athletic and explores relationships through the space in around and on a large silver 3D cube.

In combinations of solos, duets and all six dancers the movement is expansive with dance motifs of outstretched legs and arm movement, sometimes in unison with witty balletic feet positions and fast footwork. The silver structure is moved, turned upside down, tilted and encloses a duet. In one section one balances high up on the structure, watching another below in a fascinating moment, then lowers himself to the floor and they dance emotively together.

Recorded music by Harding comprising strings, violin, viola, cello and percussion is rich and at times jaunty or strident, complementing the ever-changing combinations and interactions of the six dancers.

The well-trained dancers perform with beautiful fluid movement as well as swinging gymnastically or in slow motion. This is an interesting piece as an introduction. However, the second piece is in another realm.

Next, is by far the highlight of the programme, Us, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and set to original music composed by Keaton Henson. Us was originally a duet created for the company by Wheeldon, but the company asked him to extend it by developing context for the duet to include the dancers of the company.

The result is nothing short of phenominal!

Six dancers in fascinating loose black tunics and trousers move together, taking turns with beautiful movement dynamics. A tilt of the head, a diagonal pull as if an electronic pulse goes through their bodies, and then they all bounce with subtlety – dropping to the floor and rising in a flash with such precision and timing. Shaking and bobbing they hold hands in a circle, run and create shapes. Then change rapidly into turning lifts with full body balances of each other. Twitches of shoulders then fluid bodies are flying above…

This is stunning choreography by Wheeldon, complex, singular and unpredictable and always intriguing, emotive and visceral.

A mesmerising solo is vulnerable to the core and then comes the duet that inspired the new creation. This is fluid and inventive choreography, with lifts, engulfing arms, holds and extensions. What is special is the tenderness of the dance quality and relationship. It is moving and simply beautiful without over sentimentality.

The combination of dance quality with inventive choreography creates a special moment when one is transported to another time and place transfixed by the vision onstage and how it affects you- breath taking. Wow, just wow.