Vibrant, vital and intoxicating
By Christine Young
As far as revolutionaries go, Cuba’s Ballet Revolución dance company is to dance what Che Guevera was to guerilla warfare. Bloody powerful!
Ballet Revolución breaks every rule, not just of ballet, but of conventional dance performance. The nineteen dancers, twelve men and seven women, are seasoned international performers who come from different, multiple in some cases, disciplines: classical ballet, contemporary, folklore and modern dance. This is true ensemble dancing with only a handful of solo, duo or trio numbers sprinkled through the show.
There aren’t enough adjectives in the English language, or in Spanish I’d wager, to describe the amazing spectacle that is Ballet Revolución. Under the expert guidance of Artistic Director Mark Brady, and choreographers Aaron Cash and Roclan Gonzalez Chavez, the dancers deliver a high-energy, diverse and captivating show. The mix of dance styles – ballet, street, Latin-American and contemporary – are interspersed cleverly throughout the performance. And the dancers display some remarkable physical feats of strength, agility and grace.
Meanwhile, the music (directed by Osmar Hernandez) is provided by a live on-stage band which includes two singers, Cuban drums, trumpet, electric guitars, keyboards and a standard drum set. For much of the show though, the band is covered in darkness or soft light to keep the focus on the dancers.
Ballet Revolución dances across its genres to stirring renditions of modern hits from Lorde, Beyonce, Sia, Jessie J, Rihanna, Bruno Mars as well as a couple of oldies from Prince and The Police. The audience is taken everywhere from a ballet recital to a nightclub dancefloor. This makes it sound like organised chaos. Wrong. It’s so much more.
The choreography, music and lighting are meticulously planned and realised by the cast, crew and creative masterminds.
And the lighting should have its own credit in the cast list. Vibrant colours typical of Latin America feature throughout the show. There is a lot of soft lighting used which creates an interesting juxtaposition of darkness and radiance.
The costumes designed by Jorge Gonzalez are often unique and complement individual dances and lighting arrangements. All I an say is … sequins, sequins, sequins, darling! The sequined tops worked especially well as they also sparkled and danced under dim lighting.
Overall, Ballet Revolución offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Vamos!
Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne
Date: Until 5 July, 2015
Time: 7.30pm, 2pm or 2.30pm
Tickets: From $84.90