Review: Balletboyz, Thing of Beauty

Theater Jones

There are ballets that are beautiful and then there are ballets that go beyond beauty. The Sleeping Beauty fits the first category, and in a way, so does Cloud Gate Dance Theatre’s Rice. But the second category describes Mesmerics, one of two works performed by BalletBoyz Saturday at the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Winspear Opera House, on the TITAS season.

As you might expect, strength and masculine energy play a bit part in the repertory, but judging by the two works on the program, Alexander Whitley’s The Murmuring and Christopher Wheeldon’s Mesmerics, each ballet goes far beyond that.

The Murmuring is dark and brooding, with shifts in mood from combative to cooperative.  In dim lighting and to grating and ominous electronic music, nine men in everyday clothes are constantly claiming their own space as they eye each other. But then they temporarily join forces, like a rugby team. Certain images are repeated. In one, they gather on the far side of the stage, stack on top of each other pyramid style, and stretch far out holding hands with the tension of a rope. In another, they lean forward and propel their bodies in spiraling turns. In yet another, several men grab hands, lunge forward, and swing a man at a tilt, his limbs stretched out. But the most persistent motif is that of a single man breaking away, falling, struggling and getting upright. The others look on, immobile.

In ensemble sections they move as one or fan out in pairs, playing off each other in subtle ways, as in a musical canon. Outfitted in pale blue and silver tights and the tiniest of skirts, when they pirouette in unison, the edges of the skirts flip in the wind. It is hypnotically beautiful—as is everything else about Mesmerics. 

Read the rest of the review here