BLAK WHYTE GRAY   ****

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DANCE

THE LYCEUM (E I F)   

AUGUST 16 TO 19 ( ALSO 19TH AT 14.30)

1930

Here Boy Blue Entertainment provide us with the very best of Hip Hop Dancing. The company has a very strong reputation, having been formed in 2001 by Kenrick Sandy and Michael Asante, and in 2007 it won a major award for the breakthrough breakdance interpretation of Pied Piper. The group has a strong social and educational commitment, and, despite the pressures of rehearsal for this performance in Edinburgh, they enthusiastically took part in the Gala for Grenfell at the Adelphi Theatre on July 30th. In 2009 Boy Blue became an Associate Artist of the Barbican, where the company is still based.

Blak Whyte Gray is only the third full length dance-theatre show the company has produced in the sixteen years of its existence. The words of the title are intentionally misspelt so that people do not get hung up on the colours. The show is in two halves. The first involves much locking, and the dancers relate to each other without touch, but with great ensemble and formation work.

After the interval things are deeply arresting. Central is a figure curled to the ground. A dancer who may at first represent a large, mythic human face. As he moves forward, could he represent a giant tortoise, a species vanquished by human greed? Eventually, he becomes clearly a human figure who is unable to stand unaided. He is helped by other members of the company, who support him as a team, and gradually he gains strength, until he is like a prince among them. This, at least, is my relatively uninformed interpretation of what happens in the course of this stunning piece of dance, which involves many different styles and forms of movement.

This was a most absorbing show, moving and very exciting, and a source of enlightenment for one here who is relatively unschooled in this dance form but is now inspired to discover more.

Tony Challis