At last years Norfolk and Norwich Festival I wrote my first blog about dance. Nothing has changed and much like before, I still know little about dance, and even less about hip-hop.
But even with my very small knowledge of the subject, I had heard of the production Blak Whyte Gray- by Boy Blue.
Blak Whyte Gray is a triple bill of engaging, eye popping and sometimes even squeamish dance. It is choreographed by Kenrick Sandy and set to a thundering, heart pumping score by Michael Asante, who are both co founders of Boy Blue.
“In this energising triple bill, personal reflections from Boy Blue’s founders are delivered with political bite. With the world in a state of flux, the time is right to ask questions, to break free from a system that doesn’t work.”
After the first act – Whyte– I was exhausted just from watching. Lit in a simple white square the dancers movements were sharp and jarring, with their straight-jacket esq costumes adding to the feeling that they were trapped and being controlled. Opening with this really pulled the audience in, and in quiet moments you could hear a pin drop. It really felt like the audience were waiting on baited breath to see where the dancers emotions would take them next.
Gray brought a larger company of dancers to the stage, and a different style of movement. Gang like, almost militarised, they moved across the stage with a relentless force. A mixture of tiny moments of innocence counterbalanced with the powerful sound of a shotgun, the audience really felt the gunshots resonating around the auditorium.
Blak – the final part of the trilogy features the entire company once more. Starting out with some almost squeamish body morphing from one of the male dancers, it soon evolves into an explosion of movement, all the time highlighted by some fantastic lighting. This included a moment that made the row in front me gasp, before moving forward in their seats. They were so drawn in by what they were seeing on the stage!
Throughout the performance the choreography and the physical presence of the dancers on stage was electric, be it two dancers in a square of light, or the entire company lit up in their florescent glory!
I do wish this production was danced all the way through without an interval. It would have been nice to really feel the flow of the three pieces back to back. I am unsure if this has ever been the case or if there has always been a break between Gray and Blak. For me it just disjointed it a bit, even if it didn’t take long for us to be sucked back in.
Blak Whyte Gray was nominated for Best New Dance Production in the 2017 Olivier Awards. It continues to tour in 2019, head on over to their website for more information!
Ticket gifted for reviewing purposes, but production choice, thoughts and opinions are my own.