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Ballet Black: double bill, London & Touring, 2018

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I was at the dress rehearsal at the Barbican for Ballet Black's double bill, with works from Arthur Pita (A Dream Within a Midsummer Night's Dream) and Cathy Marston (The Suit), March 2018. After the Barbican, they tour the UK - see http://balletblack.co.uk/

The Suit - Cira Robinson, Jose Alves
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr


A Dream Within a Midsummer Night's Dream - Ebony Thomas, Sayaka Ichikawa, Jose Alves, Cira Robinson, Mthuthezeli November, Marie Astrid Mence
©  Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Set from DanceTabs: Ballet Black double bill at The Barbican
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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  • John Mallinson changed the title to Ballet Black: double bill, London, March 2018
9 hours ago, Sharon said:

Thank you for the photos.


my pleasure Sharon


It is a terrific double bill in my opinion. The Suit (from the ever wonderful Cathy Marston) is a beautifully crafted piece. The besotted husband (Jose alves) is cheated on by his wife (Cira Robinson) with a sharp suited dude (Mthuthuzeli November). When caught in the act, the lover flees leaving behind the suit. The husband then makes the wife treat this suit as an honoured guest, in and out of the house to parade her shame. The mood is invoked by the clever use of shaped stands in either corner of the stage to represent walls, and doors very cleverly. The dancing moves from erotic to dreamscape to almost cruelty. And of course, it doesn't end well for the protagonists!

The Dream Within a Misummer Night's Dream from the mind of Arthur Pita couldn't be more different. After an ultra classical start, the introduction of a grappling grapenuts Puck (brilliantly played/danced by Isabela Coracy) mayhem ensues. To a variety of songs the couples enter a dream world under the spell Puck casts, and are split up and reassembled to a more pleasing idea of what they should be according to Puck's whim. It is both very funny and beguilingly danced - and though a little dark and monochromatically lit for my tastes - is staged beautifully with just a few props and light changes. And looks utterly beautiful at times too.

I went not feeling 100% with a hanger on of a cold, but the show really perked me up so I was really glad I could make it.

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Lovely photos.   A wonderful evening on 17th - so glad that a little snow did not put off the faithful.  The Suit was great - I was hoping the ending would be different but you could see it would be bad!

Barbican Theatre is such a lovely venue.

Ballet Black on good form, as ever. 

Edited by KathyE8
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I saw the 'Dream within ..'.in its first run and loved it. Fast and furious, but also beautiful and funny, all at once- innovative too.  It would be such fun to see it paired with Ashton's Dream!

So sorry to have missed BB this time.

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  • Ian Macmillan changed the title to Ballet Black: double bill, London & Touring, 2018

Ballet Black's tour of these two pieces reached Hatfield last night.  Both were very warmly received - and dare I note that ageing white males like myself were very much the minority in that audience.  Dave M has outlined both stories, above, and I found Cathy's The Suit just as cleverly constructed as I would have hoped for and, indeed, the same can be said about Arthur Pita's Dream within A Midsummer Night's Dream.  It's a truly talented company and the cast of just seven dancers showed both works to advantage, revealing both acting and dancing skills.  At just £12 a seat, I'd doubt there was a better-value stage performance anywhere else last night.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I had expected to be in  London for a hearing yesterday but the judge ordered a telephone hearing instead. That left me free to see Ballet Black's double bill again at the Nottingham Playhouse. As soon as the hearing finished I called the box office and secured a ticket.  The traffic on the M1 was horrendous and I needed every second of  the two and a half hours that I had allowed for the 60 mile journey. I took my seat in the auditorium just as the curtain was about to rise.


I had seen "The Suit" at the Barbican and a rehearsal at a Ballet Black Friends even in February so I knew what to expect.  Even so, the site of Cira Robinson's beautiful young body hanging lifeless jolted my body like an electric shock though I knew she would spring back smiling for the reverence just second away.  I think her performance as Tilly is her best yet

I met Cassa Pancho in the interval and handed her a birthday card for Jose Alves on behalf of myself and all the other contributors to Terpsichore as I think we are all big fans of the company. 


Alves is now taking the male lead roles in place of Damian Johnson and doing so very well indeed.

Yesterday must have been the 6th or 7th time that I had seen "A Dream within A Midsummer Night's Dream" but it never fails to delight me.   Each of the dancers has his or her role.  Isabela Coracy as Puck in her scouts uniform and green beard scattering her glitter, Alves and Robinson as Oberon and Titania, Mthuthuzeli November as Demtrius, Bottom and Salvador Dali, Ebony Thomas as Lysander, Sayaka Ichikawa as Helena and Marie-Astrid Mence as Helena.

Ballet Black won a standing ovation which is rare in this country outside political party conferences.   I will be interested to see whether Liam Scarlett gets one when I go down for "Swan Lake" next week.

If anyone is interested I have written a much fuller review in Terpsichore. 

Edited by Terpsichore
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