Reviews of Ballet Black.
Director Cassa Pancho has an admirable appetite for commissioning new work from up-and-coming choreographers, so we get a confident, clean-lined pas de deux from Robert Binet and a clever love duet from Ludovic Ondiviela. The ballet rep is overflowing with love duets — lusty love, thwarted love, Mills & Boon love, will-they-won’t-they love, all expressed through the elaborate intertwining of bodies, but this one’s different.
The new mixed bill continues Ballet Black’s move into narrative dance. War Letters, created by Christopher Marney, is a stylised story ballet, exploring a situation rather than a plot. Kwame Kwei Armah, in voiceover, reads a real letter from a soldier to his sweetheart, introducing a ballet of wartime longing and brief meetings.
The dancers look as stretched and easy in De Frutos's choreography as they do in Robert Binet's duet Egal. Predicated on two equal dance partners (a rare concept within a ballet context), Egal takes Binet into a stylish, androgynous vocabulary of art deco geometries and silvered pirouettes, and an interesting conceit that the two dancers, though equal, are like magnetic forces, unable to connect within the same space.