- Lucy Ribchester
- 22 August 2017
Boy Blue Entertainment's Alpha Blue Company hurl themselves into this explosive piece
While Blak Whyte Gray has been playing at the Lyceum, Boy Blue Entertainment's Alpha Blue company of 18 to 25-year-olds is filling Castlebrae Community High School with its own explosive hip hop. Having taught workshops to the Castlebrae students, the pupils have now turned their school gym into a theatre, and have been working in every role to manage the event from backstage to front of house.
The first half of Project R.E.B.E.L. evolves in short episodes that get stuck into hip hop's various styles. Group dances of long lean straight lines make choppy hieroglyphs, while a solo piece taps into hip hop's emotional side, exploring anguish in electric shock jerks and introspective clutches. Three women create a spiky, spiny shape-shifting trio, and two men square off, punctuating the music with intricate staggered shapes.
Boy Blue co-founder Michael 'Mikey J' Asante composed the score, and it echoes with looped phrases and sometimes discomfiting rasps and screeches of metal.
The second half of the show is where the intensity ramps up. With choreography that overlaps with 'Gray' from Blak Whyte Gray, the group comes together in battle-ready street clothes to face an unseen enemy. One man is pelted with bullets that hit him to the uneven rhythm of the score; later victims of police shootings in America are named in news voiceovers. The cast takes up invisible guns, then take turns in a battle which burns with the force they throw into it. The political overtones are clear, but the grit of the piece lies in the depth with which the dancers immerse themselves in the movement; the punches, swoops, shunts and jerks. They feel the strength of their expression, and we do too.