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Oh boy, it's the BalletBoyz!

Meet the new breed of dancers who are beefing up ballet

By Lyndsey Winship
A couple of weeks ago, a mob of screaming girls was seen outside an Aylesbury theatre. They weren’t chasing Harry Styles, or jostling for a glimpse of JLS. They were whooping at a contemporary dance company. Yes indeed. Although when said dance company is made up of ten fit, often semi-clad young men performing thrusting dance works of muscular rough and tumble, it kind of makes sense.

This is the second wave of the company set up by the original BalletBoyz, ex-Royal Ballet dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt. Nunn and Trevitt have moved on to direct the company, recruiting a pack of energetic, raw-edged young dancers to train up. And it’s a formula that has got the fans squealing. ‘One time there was a whole coach full of girls who saw the boys and were screaming and banging on the windows in excitement!’ says Jenny Canavan, whose boyfriend is in the company. ‘It’s like they’ve become a bit of a boyband.’

The dance may be serious contemporary work by the likes of Russell Maliphant and Liam Scarlett, but the image and the hype is indeed more One Direction. Like them, BalletBoyz have nailed the use of social media to communicate with their followers and build their fanbase. And it’s not just the young ’uns. Robin Fairfield is 71 and exchanges tweets with the company. ‘Very trivial things,’ he says. ‘I’d obviously enjoy the show without all that but it does make it more accessible.’ ‘They feel passionate about their fans,’ says Lisa McLean, 54. ‘It feels more like a friendship, whereas other companies are [tweeting] for promotion.’ As a dance teacher, Lisa is more into the dancing than the lusting. ‘I just like the macho feel of the whole thing; the way they tell a story through their bodies with their strength and finesse,’ she says. ‘I love it, can’t get enough!’

Additional reporting by Martha Orgles

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