Boy Blue – A Night with Boy Blue – London

Boy Blue in <I>A Night with Boy Blue</I>.<br />© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Boy Blue in A Night with Boy Blue.
© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Boy Blue Entertainment
A Night with Boy Blue

★★★✰✰
London, Barbican Theatre
1 June 2018
Gallery of pictures by Foteini Christofilopoulou
boyblueent.com
www.barbican.org.uk

The annual celebration of all things Boy Blue fielded 138 dancers this year – Kenrick Sandy and Michael Asante’s company is one that can wow you through sheer force of numbers alone. They represented all the offshoot groupings within BBE, from the eight-year-olds in Sky Blue through to the main professional company, with stalwart Boy Blue members such as Theophilus “Godson” Oloyade, Gemma Kay Hoddy and Yolanda Newsome.
 

Boy Blue in A Night with Boy Blue.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Boy Blue in A Night with Boy Blue.
© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

It was certainly an uplifting sight to see such a diverse crowd committed to dance, and Sandy’s punchy, exuberant choreography meant the energy level stayed high pretty much all evening. Street styles from locking and popping to waacking and b-boying were interwoven into the dozen short routines – the fierce, swaggering belligerence of krump was often a key influence.

Inevitably such showcases are not polished affairs, but that can also be part of the charm – when, for instance, the stage was filled with the  jostling, pumped-up dancers of BBE Push, breaking out into solo displays, or suddenly synchronising, flashmob style, there was an enjoyably old-school, upbeat energy to the whole affair that made you want to join in.
 

Boy Blue in A Night with Boy Blue.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Boy Blue in A Night with Boy Blue.
© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Highlights? The good-times vibe of Black Love transformed the stage into something resembling the cover of Marvin Gaye’s I Want You, with smooth operators and slinky slow dance duets making for a mood of smoky, soulful, speakeasy decadence laced with humorous touches. And Karnival 2.0, performed at this year’s Breakin’ Convention hip-hop dance festival at Sadler’s Wells, was an epic, muscular, stage-flooding celebration of emancipation that played to all the company’s strengths.
 

Boy Blue in A Night with Boy Blue.© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

Boy Blue in A Night with Boy Blue.
© Foteini Christofilopoulou. (Click image for larger version)

That the pieces for the younger groups felt rather samey – Sandy obviously constrained by the limits of their abilities – was fair enough. Sandy and Asante, on fine form as MCs for the night, still put on a good show that held appeal for more than just the vociferous “friends and relatives” crowd.
 
 

About author
Work for DanceTabs

Siobhan Murphy is a freelance writer, reviewer and editor, based in London. Between 2005 and 2014 she was London Metro's arts editor. She also contributes to LondonDance and tweets sporadically at @blacktigerlily.

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