Ballet-fusion show from Cuba is not quite the sum of its parts
This article is from 2015.
What do you get when you take fantastic dancers, vibrant costumes, a great band and one outstanding violinist? In the case of Balletronic, it’s not quite certain.
This show from Ballet Revolución (based in Cuba but with an international production team) has all the ingredients for a flashy, glitzy celebration of electro-ballet-meets-contemporary-dance, with an 11-piece live band and a Cuban-flavoured score. But something hasn’t come together here.
The show opens with a dreamlike encounter between a man in black, a woman in purple and a white violin. It’s an arresting visual idea, but what’s its purpose? Are we supposed to feel drawn into a narrative between the pair of lovers? Has he dreamed her, or vice-versa? This feeling of half a story that isn’t quite communicating itself keeps coming back throughout Balletronic. The violin duo sometimes returns, along with a few visual motifs of covering the eyes or being restrained. But so do random pairings, ensemble pieces that don’t have any link to the scene before, and a bizarre seduction scene featuring a different man with a violin.
Of course, dance doesn’t need to have narrative, or a theme, or even a set of ideas to process. It can be there for the sake of showing off and entertaining us. But if that’s the case, the choreography needs to be gaspingly flashy or intriguing, and above all watertight, and that’s just not the case here.
The saving grace is the quality of the ensemble – both dancers and musicians. Violinist Jelien Baso Miranda, vocalist Luna Manzanares Nardo and percussionist Yaimi Karell Lay stand out, but the whole musical team is excellent. And Jenny Sosa Martinez and Wuilleys Estacholi Silveira’s airy chiffon-veiled duet is beautiful.
Balletronic, Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 18, 24), 9.30pm, £14.50–£16.50 (£12–£14).