By: Julia Gasper 08/11/2014
If you never go to ballet, you will still enjoy this – modern companies such as Boy Blue Entertainment have re-invented dance. Dance is now explosive, with elements of Japanese kung-fu, and karate, blended with post-pop-video, black American hip-hop culture, and cinematic elements, creating a fluid, international body language that unites combat with music and grace.
We watched amazed by the spectacle of bodies that coil and spring, spin and leap, fold flat or dart from side to side. How is it possible for them to be so fast, so supple, agile, lithe, flowing and dynamic, yet at the same time so precise and controlled? Arms kick, legs punch, dancers back-flip or turn cartwheels as effortlessly as they might blink. Several actual combat scenes are performed in dance, all at high speed. Soo-Lin’s menacing spider dance was quite extraordinary. There is plenty of comedy here too, in the drunken dances and the scene at a night-club.
The story comes from a Japanese superhero comic, but it is plainly based on a myth about the timeless struggle between good and evil. Five rebellious, troubled teenagers, a mix of black and white, male and female, are offered a choice – either they can go to gaol for their crimes or they can accept the offer of the mysterious Wang Tang, a martial arts expert, to train them to be warriors. They find that he is a very tough master. He demands absolute obedience, and makes them do their own cleaning and cooking as well as having to follow a gruelling, daily training regime. Penalties are swift and harsh. Their first attempts to imitate his movements and exercises are comically clumsy. But they grow in respect for him and realise he is an inspirational guru.
Their mission? To save the world, of course. They must reclaim the globes of the elements from Soo-lin, the power-hungry female tyrant who has stolen them in order to get total power over the world. She uses the muscular hulk Choo-Fang to help her, then when he has killed Wang Tang she betrays him as cynically as Delilah betrayed Samson. Our five young, budding superheroes, transformed into disciplined warriors and team players, set out to avenge Wang Tang, find Soo-Lin, and reclaim the globes so that the world can return to balance, peace and harmony.
It is a good story and the lead dancers are awesome. The sets are Japanese in style and owe a lot to comic-book art. The music is mostly too loud. My advice to the sound manager, Jon Beattie, would be to turn it down at least 10%, maybe twenty percent. The moments when we hear gentle harp and Japanese flutes warbling in the pentatonic scale are very welcome interludes in the frenetic score.
http://thefivetour.co.uk/ [with video preview]
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