Monday, 17 June 2013

Review: The Australian Ballet

Vanguard - The Australian Ballet, 17/6/13

Vanguard is a timeline of "ballet game changers," showcasing works by three internationally celebrated choreographers.

George Balanchine's Four Temperaments displays the most impressive ballet technique, without a tutu in sight.  Choreographed in 1946, it can't be described as anything but ballet; but minor changes in movement such as the odd bent supporting leg and pedestrian arm sequences, plus the lack of storytelling led the way for ballet choreographers to move away from content and meaning.  The uniformed costuming also made a statement, as the principals wore the same plain leotard and tights as the ensemble, enhancing the lines in the movement.

In Bella Figura, the dancers have ditched their pointe shoes and tights, and some have lost the rest of their clothes as well. Abstract and beautiful, with interesting and original stage production, it is hard to believe this piece is almost twenty years old. I pre empted that Kylian's piece would be my favourite of the triple bill, and undoubtedly it was.  The clever lighting design, and theatrical elements such as the dancers interacting with the set, created a magical atmosphere which the sharp yet graceful choreography intensified.  Kylian's work is always inspiring, and leaves you wishing the performance never ended.

Wayne McGregor's Dyad 1929 is the most recent work in the timeline.  Choreographed in 2009, it is completely removed and defiant from ballet's rooted emotion.  There is so much happening on the stage, with the crazy lighting and set design creating a bright feast for the eyes.  The ears are not forgotten, as the random sounds of Reich's Double Sextet compliment the unusual and striking movement.  The piece builds to a loud crescendo, finishing with the dancers fiercely executing McGregor's hallucinatory style.