In the Press: A Luxembourg Review

Ballet BC delivers emotionally charged dance pieces to standing ovation

By Sarita Rao

Melding the physical with the emotional and marrying it with energy and flawless timing – Ballet BC deserves audience ovation

A standing ovation met the twenty performers of Ballet BC when they returned to Luxembourg’s Grand Théâtre to deliver a trio of pieces which, at their heart, examine human relations.

Ballet BC kick off a mini-season of ballet at the theatre, which also includes the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Black Sabbath (19-20 June). However you won’t get to see a tutu, not even when French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj brings his contemporary version of Swan Lake to the stage for this season’s final performance (26-27 June).

All three performances last night are more recent works from Ballet BC, beginning with the edgy Heart Drive, a 2022 piece from Dutch sibling duo Imre and Marne van Opstal.

They move rhythmically together in synchronicity, to the electronic music reminiscent of “On the run” from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. The movements are often sexual, as they twist into shapes in both a standing position and on all fours.

Energetic and synchronised

The Canadian-based ballet company delivers a very distinctive form of contemporary dance, that beautifully melds elements of traditional ballet with more modern moves.

It’s clear the dancers are well-rehearsed, and they perform with exact synchronicity and a huge amount of energy. You can see the muscles bulging and straining in their legs.

It’s spellbinding but also incredibly executed, as each move segues into another seamlessly. There is no doubt that the performers are all-consummate ballet dancers.

The shorter Silent Tides sees just two dancers – a man and a woman – on stage. This is the choreography of Ballet BC’s artistic director Medhi Walerski. Clad in light trousers and nothing more, they perform a beautiful duet of a relationship, with its ebbs and flows, its coming together and breaking apart.

At times it seems as if the dancers are moving in slow motion and there is a delight to the way the movements are almost never-ending, unfurling into something new. Each move is not just physical but expresses a powerful emotion.

Enlightening and emotionally charged

The final piece, PASSING, is the creation of Swedish choreographer Johan Inger, and explores the vulnerabilities and sensitivities that make us individuals. It was first performed last year.

It’s completely different from its two predecessors, with numerous dancers on stage. It feels less of an expression of emotion and more of a story of two people meeting, falling in love and raising a family.

There is humour in it, when several dancers, one after another, crawl through the legs of a female lead giving birth to them on stage (and in reverse they return later through the legs of the grunting and screaming male lead).

PASSING examines our ability to cry together and laugh together, and the thin line between the two. It explores our tribal tendencies and our search for individualism, and it does this beautifully, with small gestures that might seem barely noticeable at first.

This is not stuffy and predictable but enlightening and emotionally charged ballet, a bridge between the modern and traditional. The performers too are both individuals and a collective, and very much at ease with one another on stage.

Ballet BC’s creative family envelops the audience, so much so that you don’t notice the length of the combined trio of performances – although there is a lot to take in.

Everything about these performances, from the staging, lighting, costumes, and each and every movement from the highly accomplished dancers, has been thought through exactingly. What you see is flawless.


Read the article on The Luxembourg Times here.