The Ballet Ruse is an examination of the early lives of two ballerinas who went through the classical ballet mill and only just survived. The tedium, the commitment, the necessary drive, the focus on perfection is examined in some depth and in the early stages of the piece is ladled with wit, humour and laughter.
Muirne Bloomer and Emma O'Kane created and star in this piece and they have a keen eye for the funny and ridiculous and classical ballet is a rich source of the absurd. The show begins with the two dancers going through their warm up and then performing in the chorus. There is much to laugh at, the mistakes, the challenging of dancer stereotypes and the ridiculous juxtaposition between form and reality
For me however at about the half way mark the show starts to loose momentum. Within the dance world there are some serious issues to address about body image, personal welfare and professional pressure, these are raised through the direct dialogue of the dancers and the humorous tone begins to take a back seat. I wish they had continued the parody style and challenged these issue by poking fun at them and exposing the stupidity of these issues rather than just presenting them without much framing.
The dance also loses its impact with musical and dance interludes which seem to add nothing. The final scene is beautiful; dancing ballet shoes held by their ribbons in an ever diminishing light. Just perfect.
I sincerely hope these two choreographers do more work and develop this piece further or produce something completely different. They have something here, but for me there was a lack of consistency in the humour and intention. They are clearly both immensely talented and I will be looking out for them in the future.
Show times: 5 - 21 August, (not 8 or 15), times vary
Ticket prices: £7