Review: Dogs don’t do Ballet by Ballet Black

Harlow Playhouse / Thu 16th Oct 2014 at 10:46am

Review: Dogs Don’t Do Ballet at The Playhouse

By Jo O’Reilly

THERE are not many ballet troupes that are set up with the sole purpose of making their own existence obsolete, but that is the very idea behind ballet black. A professional ballet company for international dancers of black and Asian descent, their goals is to get a more diverse range of faces on both the stage and in the audience, of mainstream ballet.

This past weekend the playhouse played host to their first family ballet, ‘Dogs Don’t Do Ballet.’ Primarily aimed at children the show tells they story of one girl and her dog, who both harbour big dreams of becoming a professional ballerina, The mix of timeless story telling, and child friendly humour, sit unexpectedly well against a backdrop of professional ballet set to classic music.

At a children friendly 50, minutes long the show was the perfect introduction, to both ballet and classic music (the piece features music from Fauré, Elgar and Tchaikovsky) for the younger audience. The performance was particularly clever in its use of Biff the dog’s ambition, to touch of themes of discrimination, and diversity without ever coming across as too twee or contrived.

Held together by a small but exceptional troupe of dancers the piece was a triumph for modern ballet, making it both accessible across cultures and to a young audience without compromising on professionalism.

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