Them/Us - Edinburgh Fringe

Extreme grace, strength and mastery of skill culminate in an exquisite and awe-inspiring spectacle in BalletBoyz’ Edinburgh Fringe debut ‘Them/Us’. Comprised of two acts: the first being the collaboratively choreographed ‘Them’ and the second being the Tony and Olivier Award winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s ‘Us’; ‘Them/Us’ promises an unforgettable investigation of identity, kinship and separation that is at once tender, yet powerful.

The opening act ‘Them’, produced through a unique collaborative process involving each of the company members is a truly impressive display of each of the dancers’ individual mastery. Though they complement each other perfectly, the true beauty of this act lies in the opportunity presented to each of the dancers to showcase their individual talent: an opportunity that the dancers have undeniably taken and ran with. The use of a large cube-shaped metal frame transforms the stage of Underbelly’s McEwan Hall into a multi-faceted arena for acrobatics, climbing and many other visual delights. It is also used to define the space and create physical borders between the dancers; further adding to the discussion of identity and separation in a simple yet highly effective manner.

It is this simplicity that makes both ‘Them’ and ‘Us’ so utterly breathtaking. This is not a show of crazy tricks and flips. Instead the dancers display control, strength and finesse through the use of clean yet beautifully expressive lines and shapes. A trailblazer in the world of contemporary ballet, Wheeldon (the mastermind behind works such as ‘An American in Paris’ and the Royal Ballet’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’) is the perfect fit for the BalletBoyz: his famously clean, yet incredibly emotive choreography is executed to perfection by the company members. One particularly stunning moment was an exquisitely intimate duet underscored by equally stunning strings composed by English folk rock musician, visual artist and poet, Keaton Henson. Despite the clearly immense strength of the two dancers, moments of entrancing tenderness are created through the use of delicately intertwining contact and floor work.

‘Them/Us’ promises an afternoon of beautiful expression and incredibly expressive strength, culminating in an awe inspiring visual spectacle that is not to be missed.

Sophie Hill