Ballet is a form of dance that isn’t for everyone. I love it, but I’ve learnt that finding a plus one to attend with me is usually met with, “Ughhh, ballet”. Showing my partner a trailer for Ballet Revolución garnered a more enthusiastic reaction.
Ballet Revolución does exactly what it promises, effortlessly fusing classical ballet with contemporary dance and hip-hop with Cuban passion. With all dancers from various dance academies in and around Cuba, the diversity in the dancers’ backgrounds and training is part of what makes this such an engaging performance.
What makes this even more noticeable is the diversity in bodies showing how different dance style led to different physiques for the dancers, each style has specific physical needs. The numbers performed weren’t designated to dancers of specific styles, and the choreography of Roclan González Chaávez and Aaron Cash succeeds in weaving different styles in each song, rather than contrasting them against each other in separate numbers.
I did hold some reservations about the music selected and if it would cheapen the performances, being something more akin to ‘Dancing With the Stars’ and I was happily mistaken. The songs chosen have obviously been picked because they can be arranged to demonstrate the dancers’ strengths, rather than popular songs to engage the audience and some of the songs I found to be more effective than others.
Act 1 had great performances but it wasn’t until Adele’s ‘Hello’ that I found the in the room come to a standstill. The previous numbers were energetic and colourful, so the sudden change of pace was a little jarring.
During Act 2, the performances were stronger, so much so that it felt like it was over in a couple of minutes because of how fun it all was. One of the performances that I enjoyed the most was from a song that I’m admittedly not a huge fan of – Usher’s ‘DJ Got Us’. The choreography for this masterfully lead by Christian Manuel Quintana Garcia was like the most organised club ever. It was just pure fun and a feast for the eyes.
As someone that finds enjoyment in classical ballet, I was moved the most by the feminine performance to Sia’s ‘Chandelier’. This was with all the female dancers in the company and the beauty of their performance showed why Edgar Degas chose female ballet dancers as his main painting subject. The beauty of these dancers is outstanding.
The highlight of the show was Raúl Abreu Milán and his performance of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’. This was the finale and his technique and passion couldn’t be given any negative critique due to how stellar he was. This performance was beautiful, graceful, emotional, and spectacular.
For those that say that dancers aren’t real athletes need to see this production to be proven wrong. These performances demonstrate how strong and athletic a dancer needs to be, holding other dancers over their heads or the sheer musculature that the lighting extenuates. Seeing what the human body can do when dancing is usually mind boggling but these performers turn that up an extra notch. This was evident during the performance of Rag’n’Bone Man‘s song ‘Human’.
What makes Ballet Revolución unique is that its cast is predominantly male. This alone will instantly shatter anyone’s negative cliches about male dancers. Despite male ballet dancer abilities to be graceful and delicate, they are also strong and have talent that I have rarely seen in other style male dancers.
Ballet Revolución is playing in Melbourne at the Palais Theatre on the 26th and 27th of May. It then heads to Adelaide’s Her Majesty’s Theatre on the May 30th and 31st before heading to Perth’s Riverside Theatre on June 2nd and 3rd.
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Photography supplied by Live Nation Australia.