I think it is difficult, and sometimes unnecessary, to attribute a narrative to modern or contemporary dance performances. This, because they are often about expressing a certain feeling or theme in a single moment, and how that is communicated through the movement of the body.
‘Them/Us’, however, makes its intentions clear, and while it does not present the audience with a story per se, it does narrate the complex and everchanging symptoms of being a person. The company push, pull, and cling to one another, clamber up onto frames, and box each other in, creating an atmosphere of simultaneous divide and compulsive attraction that is immediately engrossing.
Without clear characters, the dances could easily be representative of the relationship between the individual self and a manifestation of an Other – which can be a partner, a familial bond, or a facet of the personal psyche – and the dilemmas and devotion involved in confronting the inherent splits in reality that are created by such a bond.
An outstanding moment is undoubtedly the show’s final duet, which manages to be so tender and breathtaking that several of us audience members were brought to tears. Christopher Wheeldon’s choreography is, needless to say, sublime. Music by Charlotte Harding and Keaton Heston also provides a sense of energy and tone to the routines, with deceptively simple string sections that work in harmony with the effortless dance performances.
The constant roll and crash of bodies, the confrontational voyeurism, and the outstanding duets clearly communicate the passion that this group have for their work, and the hard effort involved in producing such touching, expressive art. Balletboyz have undoubtedly got a hit showcase, and although it is a short evening, it is one filled with elegance and power.
PHOTOS: Hugo Glendinning