Arts Review: "Ballet Revolución" from Cuba - State Theatre, Sydney (Touring Nationally through July 21st)

Ballet Revolución is a smooth fusion of classical ballet, contemporary dance and modern hip-hop, set to a rhythmic Cuban vibe. This talented company of dancers show off their athletic talents with the help of a live band, who take some current chart topping favourites and mould them into their own for the performances.

The show opens to a workshop class, as the instructor explains the movements and steps. When the theatre darkens the live band is revealed and the loud energy begins. There are no tight buns of classical ballet here, with hair flipping and flowing all over the place in continuous movement with the dancer.

These dancers move through a couple of instrumental pieces with classical, Cuban and Latin American vibes before beginning their routines to covered versions of popular RnB hits. This is where the fun really begins, when we see how the songs we are all familiar with are interpreted through dance! A couple of my favourite routines were the (almost) male-solo in “Take Me To Church”, the sexy fun of “Blurred Lines” and when all the dancers joined in together on stage for an energetic “Bang Bang”. Some other standout performances were an incredible display of strength and partnership in a pair dance on chairs, a rhythmic drumming performance that moved into James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s World” and a solo piece to Purple Rain by Yanier Gomez Noda. I’m pretty sure he would make a perfect specimen for studying the muscles in a body- you could see each and every one as he pirouetted, leaped and rolled.

At times the music switched between the live band and a pre-recorded track, and I must say I thought perhaps the pre-recorded tracks suited the performance better. I found the live singing to be slightly distracting.

The mix of genres and styles is what is fascinating in this production though, and the way these talented dancers carry it through. At times there were moments where choreography wasn’t quite in sync, but they worked to rectify with increased movement and flair.

Ballet Revolución is a really unique opportunity to see a balanced fusion of classical ballet, contemporary dance and modern hip-hop. With its integration of such recognizable chart songs, and the routines they perform to express these songs, you are really able to see the individual skills and combined work of one of the most renowned dance companies.

Ballet Revolución will be performing in Sydney until the 28th before continuing its nationwide tour. Venues and dates listed below:

Sydney – State Theatre
June 25 to 28 or 1300 723 038

Melbourne – State Theatre
July 1 to 5 or 1300 182 183

Frankston (Victoria) – Frankston Arts Centre
July 7 or 03 9784 1060

Brisbane – Concert Hall, QPAC
July 9 to 12 or 136 246

Adelaide – Her Majesty’s Theatre
July 14 to 19 or 131 246

Perth – Regal Theatre
From July 21

The reviewer attended the performance in Sydney on the 26th June.