Welcome to the NNB s first concept show: : Kingwings Crew vs National Ballet. Even in todays plethora of choices the mixing of Ballet and Breaking is still new. Often placed at odds with each other. With this evening I wanted to mark the differences but I also wanted to show the similarities and the common influencing that goes on between the different styles and techniques. Back in 1980 when I was a dancer in the now classic film FAME, breaking was just being born and would never had been put on a main stage and classical ballet just did not mix with anything let alone street dance. It is wonderful that this is possible today and that the National Ballet takes on this challenge.
Having been myself a ballet dancer coming from the Balanchine line via Arthur Mitchell at Dance Theater of Harlem, I have had the fortune to have sampled many styles and techniques through my years of performing. It was exciting to be able to use these experiences to bridge the worlds. Highlighting the differences and similarities.
The show is formed in several sections but it is presented in a free flow where there are no introductions nor any intermission. The main sections of the show’s trajectory:Disturbing the Peace
The Breakers come into the Opera as if directly from the street. They encounter the strict academic lines of the ballet dancers and the magic of the classical ballet world in enchanted ballets like SwanLake and Giselle. The breakers counter with their street show. Out of the shadows a ballerina emerges and begin a transformation. A symbolic act which is the meaning or theme of the show.Encounter – Battle
The transformation spreads into the movements of the ballet crew. When meeting the breakers a "Battle" ensue, which actually brings them all closer together and ends in a party.Crossing the lines
As the ballerina releases her hair from her ballet bun, both teams become more human. The the classical movements continue to be used but we now enter in a more theatrical and emotional space. The breakers become more lyrical and show a diverse expression in their dance. Both teams cross the lines. Each side uses their style of movement as basis but the movements are now informed of each other's styles. The combination provides glimpses of a new movement language.Assimilation
The finale begins with a solo which is pure movement. An assimilation of styles where classical lines and technique is juxtaposed combined and commented on by broken movements. There is no winner to this contest. The final conclusion of the battle is simply a celebration The concept of the show builds itself and is informed of the public's being used to fragmented imagery and cross cultural images that are common in todays world. It subtly accesses this mash up and affords the viewer a refreshed window into the disciplined world of the theater.