Review: Ballet Freedom

A meandering story with inconsistent choreography

dance review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 25 Aug 2022
33435 large
Fest magazine

There is big Benny Hill energy to this slapstick dance show from Kyiv’s Ballet Freedom company, who wind the clock back, not always in a good way. Opening scenes of a 1920s boozy party have a louche glamour, where women gulp at champagne flutes and sashay and writhe alluringly in drop waist dresses dripping in beads.

When one flops down drunk, her ragdoll body continues dancing as her limbs are rearranged and hoisted by men, before her sparkly ring is pinched and her body is plonked in the front row of the audience.

The movements may be impressive and energetic from the 14 versatile dancers, but the choreography and staging is all over the shop. The story starts in a fancy hotel then meanders around various vignettes; two women in towels accidentally interrupt a naked man showering (he’s delighted), then there’s a feather dance between two chickens (one amorous, both violent) and men clown around in prim dresses and ladies hats like a panto Some Like It Hot sequence. 

The slap and tickle humour seems an outdated throwback to Carry On films or Punch and Judy fights, and some giddy attempts to get the audience involved are just awkward. In the week of the six-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the company gets a huge response as they wave a Ukrainian flag at the end, but unfortunately the show itself is less moving.