Dance review: BalletBoyz

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“BEAUTIFUL yet strong”. That’s how choreographer Liam Scarlett describes his new piece, Serpent. We know this because, in true BalletBoyz style, the show opens with video footage of the rehearsal period.

Venue: Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Rating: * * * *

Review: Kelly Apter

A canny move that lets the audience in, and shares some of the mystery behind the choreographic process.

Scarlett’s words perfectly capture, not just his own piece, but the company as a whole. Ten young dancers, all male, all under 27 and all blessed with a mesmeric quality that’s hard, if not impossible, to ignore.

But it’s not just the dancers that demand our gaze, Scarlett’s movement does, too. Clever choreography that at times verges on visual poetry. His astute choice of music – tracks from Max Richter’s album Memoryhouse – only adding to the emotional intensity of the piece.

There is no storyline, but the powerful male partnering leads the mind in all manner of directions. Sometimes aggressive, frequently gentle, the men could be best friends, lovers, combatants, it’s up to us.

Russell Maliphant’s Fallen took us somewhere else entirely. Here, beauty is replaced by an atmosphere which borders on menacing.

Glimmers of capoeira and controlled tai chi pepper the work, as the dancers move in circular patterns, dressed in green fatigues. Shadows play on the bare theatre walls, and Armand Amar’s music turns up the heat.

If Fallen fails to capture the heart as strongly as Scarlett’s Serpent, it still reveals a side to this talented company we’re more than happy to see.