BalletBoyz at Watford Palace Theatre*****

First published in What's On Borehamwood Times: Photograph of the Author by

A packed auditorium on Saturday night at Watford Palace witnessed yet another triumphant milestone in the theatre's contemporary dance programme. BalletBoyz' production, The Talent, is so much more than just a performance - it is a masterclass of form in motion.

The show features three unique pieces: the first, Torsion with choreography by Russell Maliphant delights in exploring the strength and flexibility of the male body. Paul Roberts' Alpha with hauntingly lovely music by Keaton Henson, is more balletic, lyrical and acrobatic with the added dimension of texture as soft flowing fabrics billow against the figures in motion.

The final piece, Void, is by Balletboyz choreographer Jarek Cemerek, who was hand-picked to work with the group last year. The performance opens with gritty noir film footage of the dancers moving through an urban landscape. They are wearing ordinary clothes and perform everyday gestures - and yet the lighting and framing adds artistry and we are constantly aware of how they carry themselves. We notice every shape. One figure shelters in a doorway feeling out of it or ill or lost and disorientated - in a real situation would we just watch or run and help?

Then the dancers come on stage against a barren backdrop. A fight scene ensues in which they appear to fling themselves and each about with no care for where they might land.

In all three performances, poise and precision underpin a brave and experimental approach to dance that is utterly refreshing to witness. It can animate and inspire in just a shake of the head or turn of an ankle. Genius in every step.

Melanie Dakin

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