Boy Blue’s Cycles

Barbican Theatre, London
May 1, 2024

Cycles, performed by pioneers of hip-hop, Boy Blue, is a powerhouse of a performance. It depicts the cycles of nature: day and night, time and season, tides and rhythms, and birth and death.

The dancers are superb, highly talented and skilled hip-hop performers. The piece is introduced with a motion-sway walk by one, to which the others join. This becomes a recurring theme throughout, appearing each time a cycle changes. This clever choreographic device is very effective, and helps the audience keep track of the different cycles of nature that are being presented.

Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy’s choreography is always creative and original. He matches each cycle with a different style of hip-hop, using varied tones and movement to explore and demonstrate what is special about each.

Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, founder of the Boy Blue company, created the concept and the composition for Cycles. The original score is inventive and modern, but never atonal. The music and dance are perfectly synchronised, down to an individual beat, or a single movement of the hand.

Lee Curran provides an excellent scenic effect with his lighting design, starting with a white circle, and providing the ‘arena’ for the dancers to perform short solos, all to much applause.

The overall effect of the show is one of a community moving through the cycles of life and nature, leaving, but always returning. Over the twenty-plus years since Asante founded Boy Blue, the company has gained a worldwide reputation, winning accolades and awards, and a place in the Key Stage 4 syllabus. Their latest dance theatre piece substantiates this enviable reputation.