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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2005 12:40 am 
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William Trevitt and Michael Nunn: The new lords of the dance

William Trevitt and Michael Nunn have done more than anyone to popularise dance. Stripping off for their new show will help, too.
by LYNDSEY WINSHIP for the Independent

Perhaps it's the weight of all those alter egos that has them looking so exhausted. But it's more likely to be the pressure of producing, directing, choreographing and starring in their first full-length dance show, Naked. Oh, and reinventing ballet for the masses while they're at it.

published: June 3, 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 2:31 pm 
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Boyz lose their grip in the combat zone
by JUDITH MACkRELL for the Guardian

Now the two dancers are raising the bar again. Their new production for GPD does not feature the usual mix of works by top-flight choreographers, but their own new full-length piece.

published:June 08 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:42 am 
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Location: London, England
I completely agree with Judith Mackrell's review above - Naked was disappointing and yet still an enjoyable show, mainly down to the quality of the dancers and collaborators. It was a very stylish production and Hugo Glendinning's video projections were particularly atmospheric and genuinely managed to become part of the performance and not just wallpaper. It was so stylish in fact that more than once I found myself admiring the cut of Monica Zamora's dress or her strappy sandals rather than the dancing.

I thought Oxana Panchenko really excelled in Naked. Normally I find it hard to see past her hyper-extensions, but in this she had a real sense of character, an edginess, an un-dancerliness, that made her more real and much sharper than the other women on stage.

But it was the choreography, unfortunately, that let them down. It just wasn't very inventive. There were parts where you felt they were marking time, re-treading the same ground. The depth of the emotions, the complexity of the characters and the trajectory of the narrative never reached the audience. Perhaps it's the fact that we're used to seeing Nunn and Trevitt performing first-class choreography that this felt, in some ways, like a step backwards.

Having said all that, I did enjoy watching the show, I liked the intense atmosphere and the beautiful bodies, and there were more than a few really striking moments, including Nunn and Trevitt's final, confrontational duet.

Undoubtedly, creating a full-length work is a huge challenge, and you've got to admire GPD for their ambition. Hopefully the product will match it next time.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 4:25 am 
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Playing catch up here on some newspaper revieww we missed in the past week.

Elusive objects of desire
By Kate Kellaway for The Observer


Naked was commissioned for Sadler's Wells and created by Michael Nunn and William Trevitt (otherwise known as the Ballet Boyz). This transfixing piece is about sexual relationships. It's chamber dance - as opposed to music - in a room white as a sugar cube (designed by Bob Crowley). The six dancers (Yvette Halfhide, Thomas Linecar, Oxana Panchenko, Monica Zamora - with Nunn and Trevitt) offer versions of a single relationship.

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Boyz on the bleak stuff
Trevitt and Nunn are just plain glum.
By David Dougill for The Sunday Times


It is becoming quite commonplace for even the most respectable ballet companies to feature artfully unclothed, throbbingly entwined dancers in their publicity material, bearing little relation to what you find on stage when you rush feverishly to see it.

The new production by the Ballet Boyz, commissioned by Sadler’s Wells (it premiered there last Tuesday and is now on a national tour), is a case in point, with all those seductive posters on the Underground. Its title is Naked. It had to be a con, didn’t it? True, William Trevitt — one of the Boyz — crouches in the altogether, rises slowly in profile and sinks again, looking like a Praxiteles sculpture, but this is on film, in black-and-white. On stage, Trevitt and Michael Nunn go topless, and Yvette Halfhide and Thomas Linecar (new members of the George Piper Dances company) wear flesh-coloured tights for some sexy grapplings.

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Naked
By Debra Craine for The Times


IT REALLY has been one triumph after another for the Ballet Boyz. Ever since Michael Nunn and William Trevitt formed their troupe George Piper Dances in 2001, the former Royal Ballet duo have been showered with critical praise. They did it by acquiring the right works and dancing them magnificently. But that clearly wasn’t enough. Now they have taken their ambition one step further and created their own original full-length ballet.

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The Ballet Boyz
If the Boyz want to fight you'd better let 'em
By Jenny Gilbert for The Independent


Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, popularly known as the Ballet Boyz, have until now seen themselves as dancers and dance directors, but not dance makers. The Boyz' highly successful touring format for their group George Piper Dances promoted short, tough works by contemporary choreographers linked by cheerful video clips of backstage banter. It made the art form seem less remote.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 4:44 am 
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Naked
By Katie Phillips for The Stage


Oh, those cheeky Ballet Boyz, they know just how to grab a crowd. First, they award themselves 5 Stars and title their 2003 piece ‘Critics Choice’ and now, safe in the knowledge that sex sells, they have entitled this piece Naked. Those expecting a cheap thrill, however, will be disappointed as the nakedness alludes less to full frontals and more to emotional vulnerability and baring of souls as opposed to bums.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2005 5:45 am 
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Location: Rugby, UK / Taipei
Naked
Birmingham Hippodrome, 19th July 2005
with Chaser by Motionhouse Dance Theatre


George Piper Dances aka The Ballet Boyz have undoubtedly been a huge hit since their formation in 2001. “Naked” is their own first full length work, something Michael Nunn and William Trevitt see as a natural development from "Broken Fall" and their work with Russell Maliphant, here credited as ‘choreographic collaborator’.

As the curtain rises the signs are promising. Visually “Naked” is superb. Take Bob Crowley’s stark, white, motel room set, comprising only a bed, doorway and four windows, curtains wafting in the breeze, add some moody lighting by Paule Constable and Michael Hulls, and video projections by Hugo Glendinning, and you have a really atmospheric setting. A couple are sitting on the bed. Have they quarrelled, are they in some sort of brief secret liaison?

Unfortunately, while it has it’s moments, and the dancers do their best with what they have been given, what follows lacks both movement and dynamic variety and rather leaves one feeling somewhat empty. The opening section features the women (Yvette Halfhide, Oxana Panchenko and Monica Zamora) in sexy dresses and high heels pursued by their men (Thomas Linecar, Nunn and Trevitt). It feels like some sort of foreplay to tensions and events to come and looks very Bausch-like, with lots of walking, changes of formation and partner, and brief moments of contact as the men lift and turn the women around their bodies. The problem is it all gets very repetitive and doesn’t go anywhere.

The music, mostly by Fernando Corona and Richard English, reflects the one-paced nature of the dance well with it’s pulsing, sometimes droning rhythms. Yet the two songs, “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps” by Doris Day and “Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray” by Patsy Cline, both come as a relief, the latter maybe providing a metaphor for the couples and the motel.

Nunn and Trevitt claim the work is narrative, yet in the programme they seem unsure whether we are seeing three versions of a single relationship or three different relationships. There is never any emotion, tension or anything else between the dancers, especially in the all-female trio. Nothing is done to try and establish any sort of connection between the dancers and the audience. Everything is as cold as the down at heel motel room it is set in.

The second half is undoubtedly better than the first and features two excellent solos by Nunn and Panchenko. The final athletic duet is danced by Nunn and Trevitt with a digital clock counting down in the background. It is here that Russell Maliphant’s influence is most clear, with its flowing jumps, rolls and lifts. Even here though there is repetition. You can’t help feeling you’ve seen this all before, probably in a previous work like “Torsion” or “Broken Fall”.

Oh, and despite the title and suggestive publicity, they’re not naked anyway. Trevitt appears to be in a brief black and white projection, but otherwise a duet featuring a topless Halfhide and Linecar is as much as you get.

As an appetiser to the main show, Motionhouse Dance Theatre performed “Chaser” in the stalls foyer. This is the company’s latest satellite piece specifically designed for taking dance to new spaces.

Set around a triangular bar, “Chaser” explores the relationships that exist in bars and nightclubs; in some ways the perfect partner to “Naked” and it’s view of motel-life. The big difference is that here those relationships are clear for all to see. It may have something to do with the fact the audience is so close, but you can almost feel the energy and emotion.

The often fast-paced choreography makes full use of the set, dancers Junior Cunningham, Vanessa Cook and Sioda Martin moving over, under and around the bar with ease. We’re not told there is a narrative yet there seems to be with both women seeking the man’s attention, one getting more and more desperate, to the extent that she tries to throw herself off the bar as if leaping from a cliff. Then the others leave and she is alone, her body twisting and contorting as if in some internal pain.

Powerful stuff, excellently danced, and a piece that, if anything, had rather more going for it than what was to follow.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 5:45 am 
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Posted by JuliaSW, and moved from a closed topic:

Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:05 am
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

George Piper Dances, The Ballet Boyz ‘Naked’
Sadler’s Wells
Wednesday 8 June 05
Reviewed by Julia Skene-Wenzel


A modern tale of love, betrayal and revenge is the kind of production that sparks a lot of public interest and the crowds turned out in force to witness George Piper Dances latest venture: ‘Naked’ was billed as a full-length, ‘narrative’ dance piece – a rather unusual label in the contemporary dance world, which often stays clear of such description. It promised another departure in the artistic journey of Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, aka the ‘Ballet Boyz’, who have gone from strength to strength, since leaving the ballet scene. Their superb physical abilities and strong onstage chemistry, paired with some of today’s hottest choreographers and female dancers have proven a recipe for success.
Twenty years on they have raised the bare yet again, by holding onto complete artistic control, rather than commissioning a choreographer. Long-term collaborator Russell Maliphant offered guidance at early, explorative stages, from which all six dancers, including the fabulous Oxana Panchenko and ex-Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal Monica Zamora, developed their own material.

Supported by a team of strong collaborators the piece eases into motion, as the stage reveals the stunning set design of Bob Crowley: an all in white, minimalist Japanese hotel room with one bed. It contains all that is to be revealed, its beauty is flawed by alienation, anonymity and loneliness; the whiteness absorbing all emotion and sealing its secrets. Paule Constable’s lighting calms its aura, as it streams through the windows like the sunshine on a golden Sunday afternoon. Six dancers float on and off stage: girls in beautiful dresses and high heals, reminiscent of a 1960’s cocktail hour with an air of Audrey Hepburn, a nonchalant elegance that drives its participants to various partners and formations. A sheer pleasure to watch, Act one is an indulgence in graceful dancing, but its characters are hard to grasp and we are left to wonder who is with whom and where the betrayal actually happens.

There is a distinctive mood change, as the stage opens for Act two: the room has turned black and the lighting design of Michael Hulls moves from dusk into the night. Secrets are no longer detained and multiple characters creep up the walls, as Hugo Glendinning’s video projections watch and judge themselves and each other: the betrayal has taken place, the wheel is in motion - the perpetrators and victims have to resolve the issue. It certainly moves the production into another gear, where the atmosphere heightens in intensity, but the choreography is not rising to the challenge: steps are too one dimensional, balletic and refined. There is no tangible expression of raw edged passion, rage or guilt, which the rest of the mise en scene is implying. Only the last sequence engages Nunn and Trevitt in a duet, which finally brings some physicality, real touch and struggle to the piece and gives a glimpse of the Boyz real potential. The lighting cuts the action in mid-flow – as one man is about to overpower the other, we are left with an open end and the richness of speculation.

There are only few choreographers who keep dancing in their own work and with good reason. Digital video equipment aids the choreographic process, but a performer will always be subject to his/her own coloured judgement. Subjectivity is inescapable at all times, but a good choreographer needs to have clarity and sharpness, when editing sections and challenging dancers to lessen or increase intention and physicality. This is precisely what is lacking in this production. The choreography and the dancers skim over a surface of frozen potential. There is no depth in the subject matter, the choreography or the emotional intensity on stage.
Where to go from here requires a difficult choice: The Boyz are the commodity and asset of the company, which is build around the ‘dancers’, not a choreographer: keeping them on stage will ultimately depend on outside choreographic assistance; taking them out of the picture, a radical restructuring of their image. Thus, just like the piece, the company’s future presents itself as an open end, many possibilities and endless speculation.


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