Edinburgh Fringe 2023
It’s noisy, it’s busy and it’s immense fun as the two styles of dance, hip hop and ballet fuse for an hour. They merge together, dance off against each other and without any real story to tell, just celebrate dance – in both its glories.
In so many ways this is an astonishing explosion of movement. It has high energy throughout, slick transfers, routines, exquisite moments between dancers and a crowd who are so fully onside it is tough not to come away loving this.
From the moon walking ballerina on pointe, to the spinning on your head and acrobatics centre stage this just had theatre at its heart. It knew how to get people onside and it managed that with great attitude. They did it with three male personalities who knew how to work us. There was the guy who was cheeky, another with high camp expertise and a third who tried to take some form of control – until it was funnier when he lost it.
And that perhaps is an issue – it was very male led. Aside from a solo singing spot, the women tended to be led. And yet they were very strong – especially in hip hop.
Favourite moments came early with the dance off, and the basketball sequence but then there was the acapella beatbox and the ballet disrupted by the diva – he was such a diva! Much of the hip hop was gutsy and passionate. Any slips tended to be more than acceptable because urban is dirty and not clean.
Ballet, however, demands that there is a discipline where feet and hands and positioning are supposed to be spot on. On a few occasions that was missing. I also thought a few of the pieces – the elderly one or the Vangelis slow motion, reminiscent of Diversity’s audition piece of Britain’s Got Talent for example – a little hackneyed. This is a company filled with what feels like abundant creative energy where the development of a much clearer and better narrative piece is just around the corner.
But what got it through was the pace and the energy. Even when it was slowed – like in the drumming sequence – it felt like a breather for the audience before, yet another high energy sequence was on its way. It knew what its audience was there to applaud and gave it in bucket loads.
The audience left buzzing. It was an hour out of their lives which was well spent, sitting but with a desire to get up and not just applaud but be part of it all. It was that charm offensive that came from the stage which was impressive. The crowd were worked, but they were given something of pure quality that meant they never felt cheated, unless they thought the fact that it had to end was cheating them, but they can come back and get more, next time round. Leaving them wanting more seems like the right way to exit…