Introducing one of our volunteer dance reviewers, Ami Fullalove:
After graduating from Masters Performing Arts College in Essex, Ami appeared in many professional productions before settling in Devon to become a Business Relationship Manager within a wholesale dancewear company where she organised an annual conference for dance teachers at the prestigious Royal Ballet School in London. After realising her love of Event organising Ami moved to a company to coordinate training for Social Workers. Missing the world of Dance Ami is thrilled to be reviewing dance productions for Dance in Devon.
Review of Ballet Black by Ami Fullalove
Tuesday 26 June 2018 at Exeter Northcott Theatre
The Suit – Choreographed by Cathy Marston
A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream – Choreographed by Arthur Pita
Ballet Black celebrates dancers of black and Asian descent, and what a celebration tonight’s performance was.
The first part of the evening was a piece choreographed by Cathy Marston. Based on Can Themba’s South African fable ‘The Suit’, this is a story of a love affair that ends with harrowing consequences. We watch a couple who appear to be totally in love go about their morning. The rest of the cast were cleverly utilised as part of the scene – playing doors, mirrors, basins and clothes rails – but were also used to exaggerate the couple’s thoughts and emotions. Whilst the husband is his way to work we watch as the wife has a passionate encounter with her lover. Her husband returns to find them together. He takes a powerful approach to dealing with the situation and we see a wonderful piece of dance using the clothes of the lover that had been discarded on the bedroom floor – a piece of choreography that elicited uncomfortable emotions.
Each character had a particular style of movement designed to reflect their perso-na. The lover had slinky slow low movements which instantly made you slightly dis-like him. The husband’s movements were happy and joyful upbeat and jazzy, which made you warm to his character. This all reflected in the fabulous music which changed throughout the piece to help the story along.
Eventually, the wife can’t handle the guilt any longer and we watch as she uses her lover’s tie to end her life. Not once did I feel as though any of the scenes were un-necessary. This was an extremely tight and well-performed piece with superb act-ing.
The second part of the evening was a quirky twist on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which has been Olivier nominated among other accolades.
This was another great piece with a seamless blend of acting, movement and sound, as the dancers used their voices to highlight the comedy in the story. Puck, the mischievous/playful comic relief, was cleverly played as a punk scout leader. She brought so much humour to the stage and I couldn’t wait for her entrance each time. The music was beautifully chosen to reflect each scene with songs from Eatha Kit and Barbara Streisand as well as classical pieces which made the perfor-mance a joy to watch.
The cast of Ballet Black have strong techniques across all genres of dance which are demonstrated in this piece as elements of contemporary, jazz and hip hop, as well as classical ballet. I thoroughly enjoyed this evening and I look forward to seeing Ballet Black again.
Main Image: Ballet Black