DanceFeaturedOnlineReview

Click! – Ballet Black-#BBonFilm

Reviewer: Maryam Philpott

Choreographer: Sophie Laplane

The finger snap is quite a significant movement in dance and music; it keeps time, it denotes pace and even sets the tone. When you think about finger snaps you are immediately transported back to Jerome Robbins’ choreography for West Side Story and to particular songs like Queen’s Under Pressure or the crooning of Frank Sinatra. In 2019 Ballet Black used the finger snap as the basis for their 15-minute piece Click! available now on the Ballet Black #BBonFilm channel.

Performed originally in a triple bill with Pendulum and Ingola (available last week), Click! begins with five dancers – José Alves, Isabela Coracy, Marie-Astrid Mence, Cira Robinson, Ebony Thomas – in stylish suits each in a different primary colour surrounded by a matching spotlight designed by David Plater. As choreographer Sophie Laplane mixes ballet with slightly funkier moves, the opening section draws its influence from the 1950s and 1960s, the dancers exude attitude as they create different formations, sometimes in a line or a pack, other times working as individuals.

A brief solo follows as the lead dancer in bright yellow introduces a new pattern to the dance with a series of geometric movements that travel across the stage, holding the pose in between. She is replaced by a bouncier duo moving energetically to The Mudlarks 1962 number Just the Snap of Your Fingers which uses the angular ballet shapes introduced previously as its base, but references the lindy hop and the twist with rapid foot and waist swivels. The stiff limbed dancers create a comic, Charleston-esque chapter.

The mood darkens for the penultimate piece, as a duo remove their jackets for a more intimate, languid dance where the finger snap denotes a slower, almost sadder pace with gradual turns, stretches and spins. But Laplane’s work is romantic too, suggesting support and care between the dancers. This gives way to a snappier finish as the increasing rapidity of the clicks dictates the timing and speed of the dancers’ movement as their spotlight solos become a line up.

This performance was filmed for posterity rather than public show with a fixed camera distanced from the stage. This does deny the viewer any close-ups of particular steps or sequences and means the camerawork cannot add to the performance by using different shot selection or cutting techniques to enhance the stories being told on stage. Click! is an interesting watch with an appealing aesthetic that draws on and adds to the importance of the finger snap, but the filming style leaves you feeling a little too far away.

Streaming here until 17 May 2020
 

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