Bale de Rua, Assembly Hall - Review
Right off, Bale de Rua seize their theatre – while some voracious force possesses them. With hurtling abandon, these Black Adonises erupt in exuberant carnival. Ecstatic dance arrests into engorged freezes. A rich jumble cascades – krumping pomp, florid jazz hands, B-boy ticking and Afro-Latin blaze. A single grand gesture of spirit emerges: furious frustration embraced, a relishing of survival. The dancer’s expansive movements stab into the auditorium, proud proclamations of capacity. Acrobatic stunts expose near manic passion. And gender dissolves. The company’s lone woman opens the show, a belle of the ball in a man’s suit, with swivelling hips and gossamer kicks. She then falls in line, becoming one of the lads. But what lads! Headscarved, they writhe in lament – a multitudinous Pietà. Then their shawls drop into skirts. A bevy of bruisers in sundresses appears. With ebony biceps and hunky scapula, these jocks in frocks parade with rude vigour. If a male dancer might be considered fey, this transvestism reveals that here hard muscle and voodoo are at play. A tribe is in session, to the boom and rattle of drums beaten with flaming sticks, and raucous bellowing choruses. Gigantic bowls appear, into which the dancers clamber – filling these empty vessels with the meal of their own flesh. Brazil incarnates. A gang of performers spit gobs of paint on their brother, transforming him with technicolour libations into the Bruised Slave – a demigod. Enacting liberation, this show is a riot, equal parts mirth, rejoicing and rage.