Reviews of Ballet Black.
There should be no need for a company called Ballet Black, just as there should be no need for all-female political party shortlists. But there is, and for two reasons: to offer a platform for classically trained dancers of colour, particularly women, conspicuously absent from Britain's big ballet companies; and to provide role models for a rising generation of talented kids. But in the 12 years of Ballet Black's existence, it has found itself a third raison d'être. It's hard to think of another small company that even comes close to its turnover of new work.
Perhaps the most impressive of Pancho's achievements is that over the years she has commissioned more than 30 danceworks. Her latest programme is typically varied. The most accomplished piece is The One Played Twice by Javier de Frutos. To a suite of Hawaiian songs, the oldest dating back to the mid-19th century, De Frutos crafts a sequence of dances whose swaying rhythms and melancholy undercurrents perfectly fuse with the retro vibe into which the BB dancers seem to be able to slip at will. Sarah Kundi, in particular, only really looks fully dressed with a hibiscus blossom in her pin curls.