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Thursday, 24 December 2009

Ballet Boyz N Da Hood - Rite of Spring Review

"Ballet Boyz's Rite of Spring: Extraordinary blend of breakdancing, contemporary fusions, ballroom and poledancing. Splendiforous!"

That's what I would write, but in doing so lose all credibility for running TooMuchFlavour, let alone being able to comment on dance. It was really ballet in gimp costume... No, not really, I'm playing. But not far off.

This is great news to me. A week of Move Like Michael Jackson, then more dance on the Beeb with Ballet Boyz! It's a shame, because it wasn't that memorable after watching it.

Stravinsky: classical composer. Rite of Spring: Classically controversial. So the Ballet Boyz (with a 'Z,' gaining them mad credibility in our book!) decided to bring it back with a contemporary twist. They gathered dancers of different and contrasting styles. And they recruited the help of the Soul Mavericks. Step out of the woodwork, haters! They even met up with them at their London Bridge training sessions too. But didn't show the McDonald's the training studio is above!

In October we met up with Soul Mavericks for the UK B-Boy Championships, watch our interview below

"Stravinsky?" Kevin (aka DJ Renegade) answered when he heard the first few bars of music. Damn, after years on the b-boy scene he even knows his classical composers? "That's easy."

Funny how they can commission a piece of classical music for the programme, but had to use a licensed generic break to dub over for the training session...

So Renegade and the Mavericks get on with choreographing. Quite a challenge, as the piece of music is intricate and detailed with no set rhythm to follow, with climaxes and relaxed moments, but nothing is too hard when you're the crew representing the UK in several breaking competitions.

Then that's all you see of them for a bit. A little rehearsal footage midway in the programme at Laban before performance. You don't even get to see the bit where they slipped B-Boy Junior into the cast. Junior who? 13m views on YouTube Junior...

The producers seemed to have forgotten putting in that minor detail. Of course if you put Junior's style in your piece people will clap, the man defies gravity using his arms to propel him! It did look dope though, although for them to dance on beat when there are no obvious marks in the music isn't worth the criticism; the concept for when they moved and why was there.

It's just a shame that considering there were several different styles of dance here, most of the story of the documentary was spent on meeting the dancers rather than watching the pieces develop. I didn't just want to see DJ Renegade go "We're gonna do an eight there, then you guys do an eight when that bit is done." Whoopee-doo. I wanted to see how our b-boys adapted to the unfamiliar music, then how the contemporary dancers and the poledancers got along together with everyone else to pull the final performance together.

Give me drama dammit, I know what dancers are like, so watch dancers from one style argue with the another that does a different style!

It's not like it's the first time b-boying has been set to classical music. It works, and it works well - check this video. But if you're going to broadcast a show that adapts a controversial ballet, and does so with different styles, show us how it all came together!

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