REVIEW: Three By Ekman. Not Just Another Standard Ballet

The night of Three by Ekman, I wasn’t sure my friend would be able to peel herself away from parent/teacher interviews. So I lined up my back-up (sorry, babe) date. He wasn’t too keep to come, probably because he was envisioning ballerinas in tutus.

Three by Ekman, however, would have been right up is alley had he drawn the short straw. (Long story short parent/teacher interviews ended in good time, yay for well behaved children).

As we settled into the show with the obligatory glass of wine, we were instantly aware that this was a contemporary, modern ballet.

The show was three different performances from Alexander Ekman – a man with insane and unique talent. He is all about movement and making the most of your space and body.

The first performance, Tuplet, was without a doubt our favourite. Think of it as a contemporary twist where the dancers moved seamlessly with the lighting and the sound. Believe me when I say if they had put one foot out of place the performance would have been ruined. Shadow play added an incredible element, showing just how amazing these dancer’s movements were.


Tuplet / photograph by Rhys Cozens (courtesy of National Dance Company Wales)

Up next was Episode 31. It was larger in scale, with more dancers taking to the stage. Again, it was about so much more than just the dancers on the stage. The lighting, sound and even the curtain played a role in making this performance more.


Episode 31 / credit: photograph by Cheryl Mann (courtesy of The Joffrey Ballet)

Last was cacti, a show that bought comedy to the stage. A cat fell from the ceiling, I kid you not. A couple danced as spoken word shared a heart-breaking yet hilarious tail (not a typo, I promise).


Cacti performance / credit: Maarten Holl (RNZB)

All in all, if you are looking for a traditional ballet full of tutus and leotards get tickets to the upcoming RNZB performance of Romeo and Juliet. But if you want to expand your mind, and I suggest you do, head along to this performance. Anyone will enjoy it, even your back-up date should it come to it.

It’s funny, it’s fast-paced, it’s visually insane and the music/spoken word/sound component will impress you.

Who should go: It is perfect for anyone, including the lads that usually turn away from the ballet.

Described in three words: Cheeky, energetic & impressive.

Notable mention: At intermission head to the cafe on the left hand side of the box office, the selection of slices and cookies is delicious (and won’t cost you an arm and half a liver like most theater snacks).

Where & when: Three by Ekman is playing nationwide.

Auckland ASB Waterfront Theatre 24 May – 1 June

Napier Municpal Theatre 4 June

Christchurch Isaac Theatre Royal 9 – 10 June

Dunedin Regent Theatre 14 – 15 June