Originally published on A Younger Theatre
Awarded 3 stars
Ballet is such a versatile form of dance, capable of being fused with so many different styles. In this case, Balletronic fuses it with colourful Cuban and Latin influences to create a vibrant, passionate showcase.
A live orchestra always lifts the atmosphere and this orchestra does not disappoint. Jelien Baso Miranda in particular captures the piece’s energy on the violin with a beautifully rich tone; his solos elevate to make the music come alive. When the band first strike up, the figure of Danilo Machado Meneses appears dressed in black. He dances around the stage with athleticism and gains incredible height in his jumps. Then from behind the sofa onstage appears Leydi Marlen Crespo Castillo, dressed in a flowing royal blue gown and flawlessly en pointe. The inclusion of the corps de ballet prompts a change in music to increase the intensity – the dancers perform a cocktail of pas de deux routines to Latin-influenced fusion orchestration. It is difficult to know where to look at times, there are many impressive points of note from each of the dancers in turn. But the contemporary dance of Lianett Rodriguez Gonzalez frequently draws the eye; Gonzalez is full of passion, fire and emotion, which contrasts Castillo’s grace, effortless elegance and clean lines.
The musical influences do not stop with Latin, however. One moment the pianist is playing Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu, the next a singer is taking to the stage to perform Sam Smith, Paloma Faith or Etta James with a remixed funk-infused harmonies. One dance is fiery and intense, accompanied by Romany folk music; another dance is beautifully skilful and full of passion, as two dancers clad in white perform to an uplifting and epic film score.
The whole performance is skilfully put together with a well-chosen balance of different fusion styles. The orchestration is carefully considered, the dancers are in sync and obviously very skilled at their craft. The costumes are colourful and evocative. The whole performance is slick. Yet it all feels like a showcase for the performers, there isn’t a clear story or structure. Dance should communicate a message, a central core theme, or a point. Either that or the pieces themselves should be breathtaking. This show was not quite at that level.
Balletronic plays at the Pleasance Courtyard (venue 33) until August 31 as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. For more information, visit the Fringe website.