To The Ones I Love - Theatre Review

Semi naked male dancers perform ballet, contemporary and African dance, martial arts and capoeira, to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, in TO THE ONES I LOVE at the Barbican in Silk Street, EC2

THERE are an awful lot of naked men in this performance. Nine in fact.

Even when the colourful shirts do go back on, they are off again in seconds.

But these guys have amazing physiques, and boy can they move.

This hour-long orgy of dance is the latest offering from Belgian choreographer Thierry Smits and his acclaimed Compagnie Thor.

In To The Ones I Love, Smits works for the first time with dancers of African origin, and they move across a white, almost empty stage, with just a few rectangular benches as props.

At first it’s difficult to follow, as you search for the meaning of the movements and the story behind the shapes, but there is no plot.

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This is pure dance without a defined meaning, and the result is almost hypnotic, allowing you to drift into daydream as the dancers move purely for pleasure.

At times they are synchronised, at others they are left to individual expression.

There’s a bit of capoeira, a bit of ballet and a bit of contemporary dance all thrown in together. But it’s all very lithe and fluid. There’s even quite a few tender embraces, a rare sight normally among such muscular men.

To The Ones I Love may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the audience loved it, and for fans of pure unadulterated dance without meaning, it would be difficult to beat.