Dance review: Ballet Black, Dundee Rep

A scene from Ballet Black's The Suit
A scene from Ballet Black's The Suit
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Unusually for an artistic director, Cassa Pancho dreams of a time when her company doesn’t exist. Until black and Asian performers are commonplace in other dance companies, however, Ballet Black will keep doing what it’s doing, making small but important ripples along the way.

Ballet Black, Dundee Rep ****

For instance, the female dancers in this double-bill all had their legs beautifully extended by pointe shoes that matched their skin tone – something black dancers around the world can finally benefit from, thanks to Ballet Black’s collaboration with dance shoe company, Freed.

And it really does make a difference. When Cira Robinson, the jewel in Ballet Black’s crown, is lifted by José Alves and Mthuthuzeli November (the two men in her tragic love triangle) the line of her body goes on forever. Choreographed by Cathy Marston, The Suit is a work overflowing with human emotion. Discovering his wife in bed with another man, Philemon (Alves) is distraught but vengeful, making Matilda (Robinson) carry her lover’s suit everywhere they go. What could easily be a trio is revolutionised by Marston with a Greek chorus of dancers embellishing every step.

After tragedy comes laughter, in the form of Arthur Pita’s wonderfully playful A Dream Within A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Opening with facial expressions as stiff as their tutus, the dancers are transformed by a green-bearded Salvador Dali. In a flurry of glitter, he turns Shakespeare’s romantic comedy on its head, with same-sex relationships and a cracking soundtrack, although it’s the beauty of Titania and Bottom’s duet that’s most striking of all.