The world of BalletBoyz coming to the Swan

BalletBoyz Ed Pearce and Adam Kirkham. Photo by Hugo Glendinning

Michael Nunn and William Trevitt of BalletBoyz. Photo by Hugo Glendinning

First published in News Bucks Free Press: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A GROUP of ten male dancers will be impressing audiences at the Wycombe Swan with their latest show, which the artistic director says is an accessible introduction to dance.

BalletBoyz will be hitting the road in February with theTalent and their double bill of work by two of the UK’s biggest choreographers- Liam Scarlett’s ‘Serpent’ and Russell Maliphant’s ‘Fallen’.

The dancers were brought together by Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt, ex-principal dancers for the Royal Ballet.

The Talent incorporates elements of ballet, physical theatre and parkour, which is a holistic training discipline using movement that developed from military obstacle course training.

Co-founder and co-artistic director, Michael, said: "What we don't want is when people hear BalletBoyz to think it is going to be all ballet.

"It is a dance show that incorporates ballet but it has more contemporary stuff.

"A lot of people say if you are going to see dance or modern dance for the first time go and see BalletBoyz.

"It is more of a accessible start. The work is just as serious but we package it in a different way.

"You get to see a very beautiful short film before each work explaining why we chose it. "You hear from the choreographer and see the boys work on it."

BalletBoyz was founded by Michael and Billy in 2001.

Together they created the documentaries Ballet Boyz and Ballet Boyz II - The Next Step and presented and curated the 4Dance season on Channel 4 in 2002 and 2003.

Michael said: "We were dancers at the Royal Ballet for a dozen years.

"For the last few years of that we decided to record our everyday life."

He said it was not for TV but for the archive, but Channel 4 picked it up and they called it BalletBoyz, and the name has stuck. So how did they decide on touring with ten dancers? Michael said some of that come down to the budget- they have to pay for hotel rooms when they are on tour and the more dancers- the more it adds up.

He said: "We worked out the optimum number and the size of space we perform in. It works well."

They are next thinking of organising an all female dance troupe with all female choreographers, of which he said there aren't that many. 2010 saw the first edition of BalletBoyz'’ground breaking new project the Talent.

Michael and Billy selected nine male dancers from a variety of backgrounds and worked with them closely, mentoring and coaching to create a company of first-rate performers.

The show has toured nationally and internationally to rave reviews, recently completing a sell-out run at Sadler’s Wells Theatre London.

In the Autumn of 2011 BalletBoyz created a one off performance in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, which was included in the final part of BalletBoyz : The Next Generation, a documentary charting the rise of the company over the last two years.

Since they started the company the age demographic of audiences is getting lower and lower. Michael said: "For most dance companies- 50 to 60 plus are the main block of the audience.

"For us now it is really that we have more of a theatre audience from 12-year-olds upwards."

Michael and Billy have studios in Kingston, where they run regular dance classes, including those for children aged three to ten.

Michael said: "We have even started running a dads class- they come in for an hour on a Sunday. "We have just started doing it. They are all learning about modern dance- their kids do it.

"Hopefully after a time we will dads and sons dance together."

For the BalletBoyz production he said the dancers are in training every day working from about 10am to 6.30pm.

He said: "They are a good bunch of lads. We are lucky at the moment- it is not always that way.

"As with a lot of stuff- it only takes a couple of people to ruin it. "They are on the road together, sharing hotel rooms, they have to be able to get on. "That comes across- there is a really nice energy."

And he is feeling very positive for the future of dance in the UK.

He said: "I think it is really strong. We work quite a lot in America and see what's going on there.

"We are streets ahead really in the modern dance market in the UK. "There is a lot of innovation. the money is tight at the moment because of the downward spiral in funding.

"People are still making work. People are still going to see productions and people are coming to the theatre.

"It is fantastic- long may it continue."

BalletBoyz is at the Wycombe Swan on February 24 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £19 to £25, with a £1.50 booking fee. To book call 01494 512000 or go to www.wycombeswan.co.uk.

For more leisure stories including what's on, gigs listings and food reviews click here.

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