Review: Quantum Leaps by BRB

Elisha Willis and Joseph Caley in Birmingham Royal Ballets E=mc2 - Photo Bill Cooper

Elisha Willis and Joseph Caley in Birmingham Royal Ballets E=mc2 – Photo Bill Cooper

Birmingham Royal Ballets new season has kicked off to an explosive start.

Tonight marked return of the company with two new incendiary pieces to add to the repetoire, and this launch into the new year showcased some the their best work yet.

The three-part evening commenced with the return of Stanton Welchs Powder a cheeky satirical number set to Mozart which sees scantily clad dancers winding around each other in an almost spoof ballet.

But the audience quietly anticipated director David Binteys hotly-awaited debut E=mc. Broken into four segments, each chapter looking at an element in the relativity equation, the ballet reaches revolutionary ground in exploring the relationship between science and dance.

ENERGY was an arena of power. The dancers exploded from each other in a variety of compositions and arrangements, and their curling hands (reminiscent of the end of Christopher WheeldonsCommedia) and motoring repetitionsmade the corps appear both mechanical and chaotic.

The atmosphere altered rapidly for MASS, where Kate Fords vibrant costumes in the first piece were replaced with soft hues and moody lighting. Bintley works in trios with two males slowly lifting one female dancer and spinning them off each other like meteors twirling through space. The effect was beautiful and gave the idea of mass a sombre sensuality.

E=mc2 - Birmingham Royal Ballet - photo: Bill Cooper

E=mc2 – Birmingham Royal Ballet – photo: Bill Cooper

The MANHATTEN PROJECT was a brave step out from the other pieces, with a single Geisha-like figure occupying the stage to the striking backdrop of a scarlet red square on black. She moved delicately to an ear-clapping low reverberation. This jarred with the other pieces and, although powerful, seemed random.

Finally, for CELERITAS the stage was luminated with a wall of spotted lighting. Carol-Anne Millers light-footed nimbleness was delightful and the corps sprang across the stage to Matthew Hindsons fast-paced scorewith perhaps more energy than the first piece.

Even without knowing what E=mc stands for, audience members could not fail to know instantly something of the elements each dance aimed to replicate by Bintleys carefully thought out movements and composition. This is surely the directors greatest works yet, and a testament to the talent in the company that he can create such an unprecedented exploration of physics and chemistry on stage.

Bintleys act was hard to follow, but Garry Stwearts The Centre and its Opposite took up where Bintley left off with yet another superb new creation exploiting the companys excellence. The heavy base beat of Huey Benjamins soundtrack echoed through the theatre, accented by Michael Mannions striking strip lighting. The choreography was physically aggressive yet attractive, hitting notes of force and power, which were particularly electric between Robert Parker and Elisha Willis.

The evening could leave any audience member feeling shell-shocked by the sheer impact of the dances before them. Bintley and Stewarts world premiere creations are a pivotal addition to the dance world which will ultimately shape the path of ballets to come in the future. Their stunning choreography and big ideas will simply blow your mind away.