Tutu: Dance In All Its Glory (4 stars)

This article is from 2017

Tutu: Dance In All Its Glory

credit: Michel Cavalca

Sending up dance with a huge dose of love

There's a difference between mockery and tenderly sending something up, and Tutu: Dance in All Its Glory definitely falls into the latter category. French choreographer Philippe Lafeuille has written not exactly a love letter but a cheeky series of text messages to dance – short snippets that poke fun at vanity, pretension and absurdity, as well as passages of pure joyful beauty. It's all pulled off by the six Chicos Mambo and one enigmatic masked female sprite in a way that is pleasing to watch and easy to follow.

No one is safe from Lafeuille's mischievous eye, not classical ballerinas with hubristic intentions, nor camera-hogging ballroom dancers, earnest contemporary dance troupes, nor even the late grande dame of dance Pina Bausch. Even choreographers looking to capitalise on humorous whimsy themselves are mocked when the group appears wearing nappies, cavorting to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.

Each of the cast is also given a solo slot, and these are the most beguiling, from Vincenzo Veneruso's en pointe grace followed by his stomp offstage, to Julien Mercier's weightless floating on aerial strap. Guillaume Queau punctuates his Haka dance with dainty gestures, providing comic incongruity but also curiously questioning how movement carries its own mood and can snap easily from one to another; and Stéphane Vitrano's rippling arm swans are fascinating for their detailed muscle control.

The cherries on top of this confection are Corinne Petitpierre's delightful costumes, not least the flowering elephant legs she has created for the opening scene, the tutu vegetable headpieces, and the cosmos of pastel coloured pompoms that covers the stage at the end.

With its unashamedly highbrow references, poker faced surrealism and big crowd-pleasing style, Lafeuille and the Chicos have created something quite special.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug (not 15, 22), 4pm, £12.50–£14.50 (£11–£13).

TUTU: Dance in All Its Glory

  • 4 stars

Chicos Mambo in association with the Pleasance The show is performed by six dancers: The TUTU men, polymorphous artists who struggle with many different interpretations, faces and styles. They want to entirely feel the freedom and universality of dance. With them, laughter becomes poetic, theatre emerges on stage and…