Neoclassical ballet

Black Ballet Double Schedule, Barbican Theater

Black Ballet Double Schedule, Barbican Theater
Black Ballet Double Schedule, Barbican Theater

Therese Guerreiro

A small company designed to showcase the artistic talent of dancers of Black and Asian descent, Ballet Black has gone from strength to strength since its founding 20 years ago by the indomitable Cassa Pancho.

It is now an acclaimed and multi-award winning neo-classical company, which has built up an enviable repertoire of specially commissioned works by established and emerging choreographers including Will Tuckett, Mark Bruce, Richard Alston, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Sophie Laplane.

But for its 20th anniversary double program, Ballet Black is making its debut with a new choreographer: its own artistic director, Cassa Pancho. Together with the eight-person company, Pancho created Say it out loud, a piece designed to tell the story of Ballet Black, from humble but provocative beginnings through years of struggle to becoming a key part of the British ballet scene.

Say it out loud exemplifies the contagious energy that throbs in everything Ballet Black does, and what Cassa Pancho points out is her “absolute love of ballet.”

The first piece of this double program is by South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma, whose Cion: Requiem from Ravel’s Boleropresented at the Barbican in 2019, marked the culmination of that year’s Dance Umbrella festival.

For Ballet Black, Gregory Maqoma created Black Sun, to a score by Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante of Boy Blue. In Maqoma’s own words, Black Sun is ‘a work that draws energy from the sun and moon giving birth to descendants of ancestors.’

Although Ballet Black is a company of extremely talented dancers, a special word must go to its American senior artist Cira Robinson, a ballerina of rare elegance and expressiveness, whose talent sheds a very special light on each work she performs. she interprets.

Post-Show Conference: Friday, March 25