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Britain's acclaimed Ballet Boyz return for the first time since 2003.

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Ballet Boyz, plus girl. - PHOTO BY BEN RUDICK, COURTESY OF JACOB'S PILLOW.
  • Photo by Ben Rudick, courtesy of Jacob's Pillow.
  • Ballet Boyz, plus girl.

It has been six years since Great Britain's Ballet Boyz performed in Pittsburgh, during their first U.S. tour. Little has changed for the Boyz and founders Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, except for adding dancer Tim Morris to the company of four -- and racking up even more awards, including an International Emmy Award for their documentary Strictly Bolshoi.

Audience members at their March 14 program at the Byham Theater can expect the same world-class technical prowess and artistry in cutting-edge contemporary dance works that the company brought in 2003.

The 90-minute program showcases three duets and a trio along with another Boyz signature: a new, and potentially eyebrow-raising, short video about the company. Past videos have featured Trevitt nude in a bathtub talking about the rehearsal process.

Choreographer Russell Maliphant's award-winning trio "Broken Fall" (2004) follows. As seen in a video excerpt, the work features acclaimed dancer Oxana Panchenko, who is twisted like a pretzel by two male dancers in a rush of jogging, lifting, tossing and near-falls, set to music by Barry Adamson.

Next up is "EdOx," originally commissioned for the 2007 gala that re-opened London's Royal Festival Hall. It's choreographed by Sydney Dance Company artistic director Rafael Bonachela, and set to music by film-score composer Ezio Bosso. Trevitt, via telephone from London, says the duet "is in a way a competition between two great dancers." It will be danced in Pittsburgh by Morris and Panchenko. "Sometimes they will be working together and sometimes against one another and trying to out-dance each other," says Trevitt.

In Liv Lorent's "Propeller" (2006), Panchenko goes for yet another twirl, as she is spun 'round in a duet The Glasgow Herald calls "a simply exquisite sliver of mystical intimacy."

The program will conclude with "Yumba vs. Nonino" (2007), a duet for Nunn and Trevitt, set to music by Astor Piazzolla and Osvaldo Pugliese. The piece engages these two former lead dancers from The Royal Ballet in a tongue-in-cheek tango battle for supremacy, with opposing tango styles. The choreographer is Craig Revel Horwood, a judge on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, Britain's version of the U.S. television hit Dancing with the Stars.

"He's the judge that everyone boos and hisses at whenever he says anything," says Trevitt. "We wanted to see if he actually had some skills and talent."

Turns out he does, and the Australian dancer with an impressive theatrical and television résumé was also "a really nice guy," says Trevitt. "It probably ruins his reputation, but we were very pleased with his tango."

 

Ballet Boyz 8 p.m. Sat., March 14. Byham Theater, 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $19-40. 412-456-6666 or www.pgharts.org

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