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 Post subject: Ballet Boyz - George Piper Dances
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2001 1:35 am 
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Debra Craine reports for The Times:

Terpsicorps

BY DEBRA CRAINE
The Times

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The ballet boyz are back doing what they love best. Hurray!

It’s been three years since Michael Nunn and William Trevitt walked out of the Royal Ballet, and three years since they last danced in London. They are, of course, the Ballet Boyz, the Channel 4 video diarists who regaled us with their behind-the-scenes footage of the Royal Opera House. A second Ballet Boyz followed them dancing with K Ballet in Japan. Now a third will document the setting up of their own troupe, George Piper Dances.
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<small>[ 17 July 2003, 11:07 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Boyz - George Piper Dances
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2001 1:44 am 
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See <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum17/HTML/000142.html" TARGET=_blank><B>General Discussion on George Piper Dances</B></A> for a general discussion about the dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, nick-named the Ballet Boyz, who are behind George Piper Dances.


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Boyz - George Piper Dances
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2001 4:08 am 
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In thier new touring show the Ballet Boyz, Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, attempt something fresh and some of it works and some doesn't. They build on their TV image by using home video of their tours and filmed chat in between the dance pieces. If you enjoyed the TV series, as I did, you'll probably like these interludes and it provides a bridge for new dance audience members who may have come because they saw the dynamic duo fooling around on the box. <P>There are five works in the programme, three by cutting edge choreographers and two lighter pieces by the Boyz themselves. This structure is fine although the programme is a bit too long at 135 minutes with 2 intervals and a late 8pm start. The real problem lies with the two lighter works that are sufficiently dire to cast a shadow over the serious dance pieces that follow. <P>The programme opens on a high with 'Steptext' by William Forsythe and the cast dances with verve and control. In this thrilling evolution of classical ballet the three boys have a subsidiary role to the domineering girl and Oxana Panchenko made the most of the opportunity to taunt them one by one. Deborah Bull is on record that this is one of the most demanding roles physically she has ever performed and Panchenko met the challenges with flair and suppleness. In London's cavernous Roundhouse the periodic blackouts do not work as well as they did at The Royal Opera House and this irritated some people I spoke to in the interval. However, I relished the chance to see my first live Forsythe for a couple of years.<P>Then came 'Moments of Plastic Jubilation' by Trevitt and Nunn and 'Tangoid' by Trevitt. The first is a video backed ballet-come-show dance piece to a dreadful score by Matthew Hindson and, when ideas really run short, some strobe lighting. Apart from a typically fluid performance by Matthew Hart, the best that can be said is that it is marginally better than 'Tangoid'. This is an ugly, passion free work despite a tall girl naked under a see through black one piece and it wastes some fine tango tunes. There is merit in having more accessible pieces for dance newcomers, but DIY is clearly not the solution for George Piper. A witty choreographer such as Aletta Collins would be a much better bet next time. At one stage we see on film Trevitt looking askance at some open-air Dutch clog dancing. Frankly, I'd rather have seen the cloggies on stage than either of these two works.<P>Thus it was a relief to move on to 'Sigue' by Paul Lightfoot of Netherlands Dans Theater, even though it is an emotionally tortured duet. The piece has intriguing shapes well articulated with by Trevitt and Panchenko. It is a brave work to have on the programme and although there may be a few too many quirky steps, it retained my interest to the final scene when the couple lies still and powder falls from the ceiling onto their bodies.<P>The final work on the programme is 'Critical Mass' by Russell Maliphant, one of the most talented choreographers currently working in the UK. This duet, danced by the two Boyz, has a sensational opening as they stand shoulder to shoulder in a small area of the stage. They perform a few moves with swinging arms and interlocking shapes and then develop these through a complex sequence in which there is hardly a moment when they are not in contact. There was a strong feeling of weight, tension and excitement as the work accelerates. The second and third sections, where the two move freely around the stage, were intriguing but not at the same level of intensity for me as the first. However, the final segment returns to the original magical formula.<P>The auditorium of about 700 or so was full and it seemed a different audience from a typical ballet or contemporary show. It's a brave attempt to showcase some of the finest choreographers in Europe in a popular context rather than having the usual series of famous pas de deuxs. I'll certainly go to see them again when they come to the Royal Festival Hall in December with a commissioned work from Charles Linehan.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited October 24, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Boyz - George Piper Dances
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2001 12:01 am 
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Article in the Independent (via FT)

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THE ROYAL Ballet renegades William Trevitt and Michael Nunn, aka the group George Piper Dances, deserve to succeed if only because they aim to put a fresh spin on ballet and look as if they might just do it. They possess the supreme advantage of their own self-generated publicity machine, thanks to their cult Channel 4 video diaries, Ballet Boyz, which revealed them as much Bovver as Ballet Boyz, capable of challenging ballet's effete stereotypes and showing an alternative to a wider public.
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<small>[ 17 July 2003, 11:12 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Boyz - George Piper Dances
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2001 12:33 am 
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Review in the Observer<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>George Piper Dances, the company founded by Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, is named after their middle names. They are the two Royal Ballet refuseniks who left for Japan three years ago, filming video diaries of their laddish experiences. They, too, have an endearing innocence, though I suspect theirs may be more vulnerable. They have already been disillusioned by their first taste of touring as a backing group for Tetsuya Kumakawa, a megastar in Japan. The new company gives them the chance to shine in their own right, demonstrating that ballet can be a boys' contact sport, a video-reality playpen. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.observer.co.uk/review/story/0,6903,577596,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><P>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Boyz - George Piper Dances
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2001 9:20 pm 
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Article in the Financial Times

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Michael Nunn and William Trevitt were among the group of male dancers who left the Royal Ballet - shock! horror! - in 1999 to work in Japan with Tetsuyo Kumakawa and his "K Ballet". The story of their adventures, illusions and disillusions, was the basis for two revealing (rather more so than perhaps they realised) documentaries for television, Ballet Boyz, which spent a lot of time offering close-ups of their faces and some nicely sardonic comments as they came in contact with Japanese ballet fan-ettes, many of whom seemed in need of sedation. They are now returned to a more real world of performance, and have formed a small company (taking its title, George Piper, from their own middle names) dedicated to offering contemporary ballet as they want to see it. Whether audiences will also want to see it is a more vexed question
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<small>[ 17 July 2003, 11:13 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Boyz - George Piper Dances
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2001 12:54 am 
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Just spotted this one on the outstanding FT search facility

Ballet's answer to Jamie Oliver - times two
JENNY GILBERT in The Independent on Sunday reviews George Piper and Mark Morris:

It takes nerve to launch a new ballet company in a recession. And it demands brazen chutzpah to put yourself and your best mate forward as co-directors, co-choreographers and stars of the enterprise. But anyone who saw the two Ballet Boyz series on Channel 4 will know that Michael Nunn and William Trevitt have confidence in spades. Armed with nothing but a wobbly camera, they confided matily with the nation as they quit the Royal Ballet, got the rock star treatment in Japan, and (coming soon in Ballet Boyz III) laid plans for their very own show. Cockney charm is their choicest weapon. They are ballet's answer to Jamie Oliver, times two.

So it was clever of them to incorporate that blokeish element in their company debut at the Roundhouse, chiefly via some likeable, off-the-cuff chat shown live on a big screen. It was less clever, in my opinion, to give themselves a mouthful of a new moniker - George Piper Dances - when everyone knows them as the Ballet Boyz.

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<small>[ 17 July 2003, 11:14 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Boyz - George Piper Dances
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2001 1:54 am 
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George Piper Dances come to London's Queen Elizabeth Hall next week and so we will see a few preiew pieces in the press no doubt. <P>One of the benefits of the splendid Financial Times Global Archive is picking up missed articles from other papers. Here's one from Saturday's Guardian that escaped my gaze:<P><B>Q&A: MICHAEL NUNN</B> <BR>BY ROSANNA GREENSTREET in The Guardian <P><BR>Michael Nunn was born in London in 1967. He started dancing at 15 and entered Royal Ballet Upper School at 17. He joined The Royal Ballet in 1987 and rose through the ranks. He left the company in January 1999 and became a founder member of K Ballet. In January 2001, he co-founded his own company, George Piper Dances, with William Trevitt. The pair are making their third Ballet Boyz documentary series for Channel 4, and are touring this winter.<P>What is your idea of perfect happiness?<P>Spending time with family and friends. Not worrying about work.<P><A HREF="http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4304689,00.html" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Boyz - George Piper Dances
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2001 12:05 am 
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Review in The Observer.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>New kids on the block, George Piper Dances , returned to London at the end of their first tour with a new work and a more coherent programme. The founder-directors, Michael Nunn and William Trevitt (whose Ballet Boyz video diaries appeared on Channel 4), treat ballet and modern dance as contact sports. They're not precious about their classical background with the Royal Ballet; they'll have a go at any style or technique that intrigues them - and video themselves as regular guys, playing and working hard<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.observer.co.uk/review/story/0,6903,615546,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Boyz - George Piper Dances
PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2001 11:01 pm 
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Review in The Independent

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What a title: Truly Great Thing. No false modesty there. I can only assume that something great was what Michael Nunn and William Trevitt (television's Ballet Boyz) asked the choreographer Charles Linehan to create for their group George Piper Dances. Well, I wouldn't go so far as to thrust greatness upon it, but the outcome is a ballet that is unusual, interesting and entertaining.

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<small>[ 17 July 2003, 11:17 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Boyz - George Piper Dances
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2002 11:45 pm 
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Interview with William Trevitt in The Independent.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>William Trevitt, 33, began dancing in Cambridge aged six and joined the Royal Ballet at 18. In 1999, he quit – with fellow dancer Michael Nunn – in a blaze of publicity captured on their Channel 4 video diary, Ballet Boyz. Last year, the pair set up contemporary dance company, George Piper Dances (an amalgamation of their middle names), which has already received a South Bank Show Award nomination.<P><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/theatre/interviews/story.jsp?story=120641" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Boyz - George Piper Dances
PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2002 10:09 pm 
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<B>Whatever happened to the Ballet Boyz?</B> <BR>Judith Mackrell for The Guardian meets the dancers who found the Royal Ballet was not enough, prior to the premier of their new commission<P><BR>Dancing, Merce Cunningham once said, is a profession "that gives you nothing back... nothing but that single, fleeting moment when you feel alive". Many dancers are regularly unemployed, earnings are often less than the minimum wage and few careers extend beyond the age of 35. For any dancer working in the privileged cocoon of an institution like the Royal Ballet it takes some nerve to leave for a freelance career. <P>Michael Nunn, William Trevitt, and Russell Maliphant have all made that break. Trevitt and Nunn were principal dancers with the Royal when, in 1999, they walked out to join Tetsuya Kumakawa and his lavishly sponsored K Ballet in Japan. The pair's departure was made noisily public by their Channel 4 video diary Ballet Boyz, documenting the ritzy life that apparently followed. <P><A HREF="http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4395530,00.html" TARGET=_blank><B>click for more</B></A><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Boyz - George Piper Dances
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2002 2:53 am 
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George Piper Dances<BR>Brighton Dome<BR>June 2002<P>They may have controversially escaped Britain’s biggest classical dance institution but William Trevitt and Michael Nunn have ‘Royal Ballet’ stamped all over them. And that’s no bad thing. Their consummate power and strength, faultless technique, their poise and the ease with which they pas de deux – juggling male and female dancers like feathers; these are sure traits of a sturdy classical training. When people try to defy ballet’s softie image by announcing that ballet dancers are as fit a premier league footballers, these would be the two to show and tell. And they don’t even wear tights – well, not always.<P>Nunn and Trevitt are better known as the Ballet Boyz, stars of two video diaries for Channel 4.Their cheeky personalities helped put an accessible face on the high-flown worlds of classical and contemporary dance. In keeping with the TV trend for backstage expose, Ballet Boyz let us in on the process of creating dance, bringing the audience closer to the blood, sweat and tears that is usually kept strictly out of sight.<P>So, they’ve done the PR work, but what about the show?<P>The opener is William Forsythe’s Steptext, a perfect piece for the company and beautifully executed. Forsythe’s deconstruction of the classical form is itself a classic. Inverted limbs, lowered backs, unresolved sequences, the Barbie doll limbs of Russian dancer Oxana Panchenko demonstrating the mechanics of movement. Blurring the lines between rehearsal and performance, the dancers are on stage before the house lights go down and the music makes short practise bursts. Later, one dancer performs a sequence while another marks the steps behind. This clever undermining of ballet’s sanctity is a perfect route into Nunn and Trevitt’s mindset.<P>The rest of the programme does not quite fulfil the promise of this bold introductory statement. Charles Linehan’s ‘Truly Great Thing’ has potential but doesn’t really go anywhere (the latter may be the point of the piece). What does deserve mention however, is the dancers’ costumes, which aren’t costumes at all, just normal clothes; the men in well-fitting trousers and shirts, Lucy Dodd wearing a beautifully cut A-line skirt. No tunics, floaty froth or lycra bulges. It’s very sexy, and totally subservient to the choreography.<P>The characters are stronger in Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon’s duet ‘Sigue’. Trevitt descends near-naked from a pole at the edge of the stage, all new to this world, taking unsure steps, treading carefully and joyfully. Enter Panchenko with crooked spindly limbs, awkward but knowing, she could be an invention of Pina Bausch. The couple dance an agile duet with the skewed magic of a Grimm fairy tale, shot with the unexpected and flinchingly intimate moments.<P>The programme ends with Russell Maliphant’s ‘Critical Mass’. This was made for the boys, literally. A combination of controlled strobe-like loops, weaving contact improvisation plus a bit of rough and tumble. They are completely in tune with each other. They lift, counter-balance, and throw themselves, and each other, about the stage, without being circus-like or sexual, as happens all too easily in male duets. But you feel they could push themselves further. In the huge concert hall the energy was sucked out of this piece compared with when I saw it at The Place, and either they had practised enough since to make it look extremely simple or they’d taken out some of the more risky moves.<P>George Piper Dances is potentially a very exciting company but they need to bring some of the spark and humanity that’s in evidence in their TV appearances on to the stage. When more work is made especially for them I’m sure this will be the case. The programme is interspersed with extracts from their video diaries and the final video comes with post-show footage and epic credits that summon more drama than most of the dancing. With their names writ large on the screen, Nunn and Trevitt have got what they wanted, they are the stars of their own show. But when you succeed in creating hype, you have to come up with even more to live up to expectations.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Boyz - George Piper Dances
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2002 3:34 am 
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Thanks for that Lyndsey. I saw them at The Place but unfortunately missed their Steptext - a piece very dear to my heart. Did their Steptext generally impress you?


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet Boyz - George Piper Dances
PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2002 1:51 am 
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The Ballet Boyz are back on the road for an Autumn tour. It's good to see that they are still attracting much attention from the Press as they take contemporary ballet and dance to new audiences who know them from TV.

Looking through the schedule for Akram Khan for 2003, I see that in January he will be chorographing a work on George Piper Dances. The Ballet Boyz certainly have a flair for commissioning the cream of UK dance choreographers to make work for them.

As an aside, Akram Khan is also in the Dansoffice management stable along with Russell Maliphant and Charles Linehan who have also made work on the Company.

Here is a link to the Dansoffice website

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The Boyz are back in town
Forget the classics or the showy bonbons, MARY BRENNAN heralds the arrival of two dancers muscling in on the gritty side of ballet in The Herald.


THIS week is the Scottish debut of George Piper Dances. Who? Let me put it another way: the Ballet Boyz are coming to Glasgow - and, though they're on-stage dancing (at the Theatre Royal), the cameras that earned them prime-time slots on Channel 4 will also be at the ready. Indeed, audiences can look forward to a mixed bill that not only includes some of the most riveting modern choreography around, but also ropes in backstage footage of the company revving up for technically demanding works by William Forsythe and Russell Maliphant.

This penchant for catching, and openly revealing, off-stage moments in a dancer's daily workload harks back to when Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt were truly "ballet boys", just starting out on their careers with the Royal Ballet. It's also where the name George Piper first comes into play.

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Boyz on their toes
Uncredited in the Scotsman

THERE’S no such thing as a job for life these days, but a large company and regular pay cheque still carry some semblance of security. To throw all that away for a short-term contract on the other side of the world takes a brave man. William Trevitt and Michael Nunn are two such men, although strictly speaking we should call them boys - the Ballet Boyz. Last seen pointing a handheld camera at the Royal Opera House during its controversial renovation, Trevitt and Nunn came to prominence in 1999 when their Channel 4 video diary drew two million viewers.

Both had danced with the Royal Ballet for more than ten years when the bulldozers moved in, prompting the duo to capture a slice of history. "We were told that the building was going to be closed down and renovated, and we thought ‘what a great opportunity’," explains Trevitt. "There was such history there - it was where Nureyev and Fontaine danced, where Maria Callas sang - all these great people had performed there, sat in the dressing rooms, eaten in the canteen, and it was all going to be knocked down without anybody making a record of it."

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Off-camera, the Boyz become men
Ismene Brown for The Daily Telegraph reviews the George Piper Dances at various venues and the Dance Theatre of Harlem at Sadler's Wells.

When an audience for ballet is startlingly different from the norm - 50 per cent teenaged, say - even the pessimists need to sit up and take notice. George Piper Dances have so far done the almost unthinkable. William Trevitt and Michael Nunn, two leading men from the Royal Ballet, went freelance in 1998, plummeted (some say) down market with their camcorder and shot some ballet video-diaries that turned them fleetingly into TV stars.

As The Ballet Boyz, they have since started up their own ballet company and set about gathering a repertory of strong modern ballets loosely tied together with their video efforts. The ballets shriek professionalism; the videos maintain the opposite fiction, that the "boyz" are as nerdish and ordinary as their TV fans. After a hard bit of dancing, a video shows Michael and Billy going back to the dressing room commenting on the audience. The youngsters love it, as I saw at an astonishingly youthful audience at Crawley's The Hawth, where GPD launched its 2002-03 tour.

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<small>[ 26 January 2003, 11:11 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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