Have you ever wanted to see dancers on stage moving with rabbit headdress? Well now you can, with Alberta Ballet’s presentation of Life by Balletboyz. The first of the double bill features Rabbit, choreographed by Pontus Lidberg to musical composition by Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki. The piece is a combination of the absurd and the whimsical. The second piece Fiction has the company is a much more casual choreographed performance (choreographed by Javier de Frutos), almost as if in rehearsal. It makes for a evening of watching strength in dance but Balletboyz don’t ever really do groundbreaking work.
Rabbit is danced to a neutral backdrop of hangings of fabric. They line the back and sides of the stage and are lit from behind by different coloured light. There is a large swing stage left and it gives the production its dreamlike edge. Rabbit features some strong movement from the dancers, with sharp lines. Almost all of the dancers are in full headdresses, with tailored shorts and long rabbit ears. It gives the production surreal air. There are some great lifts and quick movements when the energy picks up in the music. Rabbit features some fine duet work.
Fiction is a complete change in tone and atmosphere from the first half. With a metal bar in the centre of the stage and the dancers in sweatpants, this performance feels like a dress rehearsal. Choreographer Javier Farncombe was inspired by a fictional obituary, written by a critic, an obituary of his own death. The words start and stop and repeat themselves, as does the movement. The boyz demonstrate their physical strength, hanging from the bar and falling from it repeatedly, in choreography that is staccato and fluid simultaneously. The casual feel lets the humour shine through the piece but ultimately doesn’t delve into anything deep in terms of movement or narrative.
Alberta Ballet’s presentation of Balletboyz is strong in displaying the strength of the human body, but the presentation doesn’t push the mandate of dance or have a very strong emotional pull.
Alberta Ballet’s presentation of Balletboyz’s Life runs one more time on February 18th. More information is available online.
Photo Credit: Tristram Kenton