Dance and then some

Ballet Revolución (The Ballet Revolución Company & ATA Allstar Artists)

QPAC, Concert Hall

July 9 – 12

Direct from Havana, Cuba, “Ballet Revolution” returns to Australia with a brand new production to showcase the power of dance through combination of classical and contemporary numbers. Indeed, the show constantly traverses the boundaries between styles and does so without feeling in any way disjointed, despite the fact that it lacks linkage in terms of context. Although the night starts slowly with introductory segments without the addition of lyrics, things soon spice into some signature Latin and tribal-type rhythms. There are meditative moments too, such as a moving mostly all-male routine to Hozier’s ‘Take Me to Church’, which is a clear Act One highlight (and not just because it showcases the dancers’ ripped physiques). And although it is the male dancers who dominate the troupe in numbers and command most attention (especially Alejandro Perez Fernandez), the ladies of the 19 strong company are also given their chance with a bit of Beyonce, showing how there really is something for everyone in this program.

The show unfurls as a series of short, high-energy segments highlighting different dance styles, from Mambo to ballet. And although it is without unifying storyline, the language of movement and music morphs into something more powerful that narrative in its combination of forms. Act Two sees the energy increase even further with routines set to an array of upbeat pop numbers of the Rhianna and Jo-Lo type. It is here where  ‘DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love’ epitomises the essence of the show’s premise as it shows Michael Jackson moves in Magic Mike style alongside astounding pirouette and fouette ballet movements.

From a sultry ‘Roxanne’, bathed in dangerous red light to the smooth salsa of ‘She Bangs’ and pop moves of Lorde’s ‘Royals’, “Ballet Revolución” gives audiences an unrelenting energy, even in its slow and sensual pieces. Indeed, the strength and skill of all the dances are of the sort to make the audience engage in awed mid-routine applause. Ballet dancer Yanier Gomez Noda is simply beautiful to watch as a soloist and it is entirely appropriate that his skill is showcased in a moving Act 2 number to the strains of an evocatively-gospel ‘Purple Rain’.

Just like the fusion that is central to great Latin American music, it is the combination of elements that make “Ballet Revolución” such a marvellous night out. Costumes are simple yet effective in their pops of colour and sparkle. This is a show that doesn’t need to rely on gimmicks and when used, they occupy only minor moments. Rather, “Ballet Revolución” is about the moves and the music. The eight-piece upstage band (sadly only sometimes seen) is impressive in every possible way. The percussion, in particular, is outstanding and Luis Palacios Galvez’s congo solo is so full of power that his hands become but a blur.

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“Ballet Revolución” offers audiences dance and then some. Even those audience members who are only dabblers in dance shows will surely appreciate and enjoy the show’s mix of genres and displays of technical brilliance. And the fact that it is to a beat of a distinctly Cuban flavour only adds to its eclectic but entirely deserving appeal.

Photo c/o – http://balletrevolucion.com.au/the-show/

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