If you’ve ever wanted to see a ballet dancer attempt some B-girl floorwork in a tutu, or wondered about the battement skills of international street dance superstars, then you won’t want to miss the collaboration between Flawless and the English National Ballet, currently touring the UK.
The show ‘Against Time’ pits the dancers against an envious time-obsessed professor who, having lacked the confidence to dance himself, subjects his dance students to dull, repetitive exercises. Worse still, the grumpy man has managed to acquire a mystical hat that gives him the power to manipulate time (why does that always happen?)
Cue a rollercoaster street dance and ballet fest, with the All Star Academy (aka Flawless and the ENB) treating the audience to plenty of hip-hop breaking and funkstyle moves – not to mention the odd pirouette or two – as they embark on an entertaining and very surreal adventure. With a lively soundtrack that includes Maroon 5’s ‘Moves Like Jagger’, House of Pain’s ‘Dance Around’ and memorable tunes from Moulin Rouge and Swan Lake, there is something for everyone in this show. One of my particular favourites was the scene where the Academy guys and girls find the Professor’s journal and pass it from one to the other in an intricately choreographed piece.
So what prompted this hybridisation of styles? After meeting for the first time in 2011 at Buckingham Palace, while performing for Her Royal Highness the Queen, Flawless head choreographer Marlon ‘Swoosh’ Wallen approached one of ENB’s head director’s with some initial concepts…and it took off from there.
The collaboration proves what Street Fit® have been saying from day one: it doesn’t matter what dance background you have, you can benefit from street dance. The ENB dancers have found themselves working upper body muscles that they rarely get to use, while some of the Flawless members re-experienced their classical ballet training (yes, you read that right!). It also demonstrates the value of busting out of your comfort zone and trying something new.
It even turns out that some of the ballet queens are avid street dance fans. ENB soloist Jenna Lee is from Brixton and regularly attends the Breakin’ Convention, an international hip-hop festival.
I won’t spoil the story by revealing how Flawless and the ENB finally win their race ‘against time’ and thwart the villain, but there is a serious moral to this story: If you have a desperate desire to dance and you don’t act on it, you could end up becoming an evil, twisted professor!
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