Manchester Theatre Awards

> Independent informed reviews by the region’s most experienced critics

Elektro Kif

Blanca Li Dance Company
The Lowry
15 February 2012 to 16 February 2012

With eight sets of elastic arms and rubber legs, this is 70 minutes of energetic dance with a difference. Emanating from Parisian discos, somewhere around 2005, it’s claimed to be the first new dance to come out of France since the Can Can. That’s quite a smart and appealing publicity line from some PR or other but the show is pretty smart and appealing too.

It’s a blend of breakdance, disco, body popping and, just for here, a dollop of classical, all developed and choreographed by award-winning French-based Spaniard Blanca Li, to make a witty, stage-filling entertainment that could well become a cult.

The crew of eight were recruited by Li from the suburb of Paris where the style originated, and all have their own personalities while also forming an impressively-disciplined ensemble.

The dance style itself, which involves rapid and intricate arm movements, is quite remarkable but somewhat limited in its ability to express subtle emotion, so there is a certain sameness that creeps in as the minutes tick by, but it is heavily and rather successfully disguised by Li’s continual invention of changing circumstances as she bases the whole event around a day in the life of these lads at a college.

So, there are episodes in the gym for basketball, there’s a very funny lunch in the canteen and a clever scene in an exam room where answers are passed on from one candidate to another by a variety of ingenious means.

It reminds me a little of Stomp, which also started out small and obscure, and look what happened to that…

Reviewer: Alan Hulme