Take a trip down memory lane with this exhilarating fusion of ballet and street dance.
Many Londoners would stifle a yawn at the mention of the word ‘ballet’. The very idea of a show with no words and a petite, smiling woman taking centre-stage for two hours could be intimidating.
Masters of Choreography are determined to change that. The world-leading dance theatre and production company are shattering the stereotype by pushing the boundaries of dance to its limits.
Their latest show, Beats on Pointe, presents itself as an unconventional, dynamic fusion of classic ballet and street – two very opposing worlds.
But anyone who was hoping for a West Side Story-style affair will sadly be disappointed. From the very first beat, it is clear that these Australian dance athletes are all multi-faceted on the talent front, but the show lacks a backstory.
A mix of ‘90s RnB with ‘00s hip hop and modern pop plays over a graffitied backdrop as tutu-clad ballet dancers pirouette in time with head-spinning break-dancers, and breath-taking street performers.
Every dance segment is short, exhilarating and at times chaotic with up to 12 performers onstage. Occasionally it’s difficult to know where to look, but it’s easy to cast a silent smile at the screaming pre-teens going crazy over the topless, winking males.
The energy is high for most of the show, but sadly its attempts at comedy fall flat. One dancer is also a beatboxer, another a garbage bin lid drummer, and another a singer – it seems more reminiscent of a high school talent show rather than a world-class dance show.
Still, the trip down memory lane continues with an impressive ballet vs. street dance off to Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’, but it was tainted with an eyebrow-raising segment to the tune of Michael Jackson.
There’s no denying that the street and ballet blend is unique and representative of all different dance styles, but sadly the cast really did lack diversity. However, this seems to be indicative of the dance world and its culture overall, rather than the group themselves.
In the same breath, to see male dancers defying gender norms by wearing glittery trousers, paired with high heels dancing to Beyoncé was refreshing, but at times their sexuality was for the comedy factor alone which felt inappropriate.
Nonetheless, Beats on Pointe really does make for an entertaining night of fun for all the family. The daring show has attitude, spunk, and is really quite impressive.
Beats on Pointe runs at the Peacock Theatre until 16 June.
Words by Emmie Harrison.