Cuba’s Ballet Revolución in Adelaide

Ballet Revolución
Ballet Revolución

The most revolutionary thing about Ballet Revolución is in its philosophy on dance: forget the history, the traditional and modern theories, and the techniques; just sit back and enjoy it!

It’s tempting to remark Ballet Revolución is a bit like So You Think You Can Dance conflated with Cuba’s Got Talent. I saw Ballet Revolución on their 2011 Australian tour and the two twenty-something women next to me called out “encore” during intermission, after commenting to each other during the show just how much better these dancers bodies were compared with those of Australian Rules Football players. The point being, the Cubans are highly successful in introducing dance to a whole new audience and that can only be a good thing for everyone involved.

The set list and choreography has more influences combining on stage than you’d find in a homemade pot of Jambalaya. Celebration is the overarching theme, with slices of humour and large portions of athleticism thrown in for good measure. Only occasionally does any of the more traditional ‘ballet’ break out and while it isn’t always technically perfect it does help change the pace of the show.

[pull_left]The set list and choreography has more influences combining on stage than you’d find in a homemade pot of Jambalaya[/pull_left]

The show is at its best when the choreography is tightly focused. There are times, when the stage is full of dancers, that the choreography seems muddled and the 2013 show lacks some of the freshness and narrative comedy of its 2011 predecessor. Thankfully, this incarnation does retain many of the show’s finer moments, such as the refined strength and beauty of coupling with a chair.

A world-class eight piece band provides the backing for the dancers, with Marcos Alonso Brito playing some superb lead guitar and Thommy Garcia Rojas blowing some pitch perfect trumpet; but it was Luis Palacios Galvez who surprised and delighted the audience with an inspired Congas solo providing the musical highlight of the night.

While any number of the women dancers kept the guys in the crowd happy, of the dozen or so performers (it’s hard to keep count) Jesús Elías Almenares received the audience gasp award for his physical prowess on stage.

Ballet Revolución is aimed at the broadest possible audience and does actually please their desired demographic. If that’s the measure of success for this production then they achieve it in spades.

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