The Australian Ballet’s 20:21 wowed audiences with a Triple Bill of modern and contemporary dance, that moved the audience to their feet. The costumes and the sets were minimal so the production relied heavily on the skill of the dancers and the talent of the choreographers.
If the dancers felt exposed by their limited artifice, they did not show it, in fact, they embraced it.The dancers were un-caged flying freely though the score and exploring modern motifs. The zeal of the dancers slapped the audience awake as they were witnessing their living time and their Art. It was beyond fable, it was flesh and blood, it embraced our moment.
The third and final ballet of the triple bill was Twyla Tharp’s In The Upper Room, it was reminiscent of ‘The Red Shoes’ but with a twist. Those that dance beyond a dalliance, are not outcasts, doomed to roam alone, but rather the front-runners of fashion. The audience may have been on the bench but they had gone to the party.
Costume designer Norma Kamall has to be congratulated for telling it all, by disclosing less.
The award-winning Architect, Enrico Taglietti, created his Brutalist building for the St Kilda Library, with the aim of it to be
“a place where people feel more alive’.
The St Kilda Library’s bold and embracing architecture is a place of respite within the busy clutter of Carlisle Street. The building invites its visitors to sit on the ledges, gather in its courtyards and participate in the experience of the creative word.
Italian born, Mr Taglietti is one of the country’s national treasures and winner of Australia’s most prestigious Architectural award, the RAIA Gold Medal in 2007. The St Kilda library is one of his earlier works and was officially opened May 14 1973. The St Kilda library promotion committee was established in 1951 to rally support for its erection. Sheer determination paved the way through episodes that could have derailed the project on several occasions.
In 1954, Twelve Councillors refused to give the city a free library.
‘I rely on you ladies to get the councillors wives on our side’ quoted The Angus in its December issue 1954.
As Mr Taglettis prominence as an important Australian Architect grows, examples of his work become highly valued. Builders, M. Notkin Construction of South Caulfield, were appointed to construct the building which cost $417,000 at the time, the current price of an apartment in the area. The Brutalist design is a contemporary period piece of 1960-70’s architecture and within the interior, a mural by Mirka Mora adds to the artistic collateral of the project.
“Visitors may then be able to relax around coffee tables, admiring or criticizing displays of paintings…Mr Taglietti wrote in his original proposal.
The architect planned for the building to be used as a refuge.The public are sheltered within its thick walls and can linger in its quiet Japanese courtyards. The outside world keeps its noisy distance. Warm timber ceilings contrast the cool grey concrete that is sculptured into a solid earthy structure. The lofty outdoor roof provide shade and shelter as people gather beneath it on the massive trapezoidal walls ledges to chat or access the Wi Fi.
The Australian Library Journal of 1973 claimed that the building was ‘handsome and visually exciting’
The building has since been renovated to cater for the expanding community, without consultingTagletti, The changes to the building include a side entrance and a new front section. The original counter was situated under an elevated roof with a skylight, in what is now the middle of the building. The new front section is expansive and moulded into the shape of a book. The changes are admired and appreciated by some but not all.
Mr Taglietti was not impressed, he was baffled as to why he was not consulted or at least notified of alterations to the original building. The Architect claimed that the entry was a key aspect. Mr Taglietti was disappointed and hoped plans were being made to return it to its original state.
“They totally disregarded the original’ Mr Tagletti claimed in an exclusive interview.
The entrance courtyard was to be “the nucleus” of the design. This area has since been built over despite the council overlay that regards the building as significant and claimed that the front , including the original air conditioner tower was ‘ integral to the design’.
Mr Tagletti said that “it was a shame’
“There should be protection of my moral right in that building, it should have been recognised by another”. He claimed in a tone of sheer disappointment.
Mr. Tagletti came to Australia to break away from the confines of tradition in Europe and explore vivid modern constructions. He has designed the Dickson Library, the Italian Club, the Apostolic Nunciature, Giralang Primary School and the War Memorial Annexe, in Canberra where he resides.
“To celebrate the works that neighbours have done.”
The evolution of Art is a process that requires, curiosity, appreciation, skill and patronage. Not every person that attempts art will be apt in its curly concepts, many will find that the creative pursuit is an end, in itself. The banal and the grand begin at the same place, which is the opportunity to access it. Many regional art centres throughout Victoria are seeking a cultural voice, the most well known are Castlemaine, the Yarra Valley, Ballarat, Daylesford and Bendigo.
Local artists in Nathalia (Nth Victoria) were working in isolation before the local art centre forged an artistic hub. William Kelly a local artist had suffered violent neighbourhoods in his past and sought to unite the township together through art. It’s a functional non-for profit Art Centre and it has become the focal point of creative energy in the region. They have tried to engage every person in the community and encouraged them to participate in the workshops.
‘I hope you realise what you have achieved
Because it’s fairly plain to me,
Your introducing culture! God forbid, have you no shame!
What was wrong with up the pub, getting full as a boot?
The beer, the blood, the spit on the walls….
…………….the gardens are full of sculpture!’ (Poet, Tammy Muir)
The G.R.A.I.N store gallery and workshop, opens its doors to all in the community who are willing to explore their creativity. They do not discriminate and in this melting pot of Art and Craft, originality can rise to the surface. They invite school children and the elderly to be involved. The early involvement of local children in cultural projects ensures future growth of the Arts in the region. Locals are offered a space to explore their ability in a non-threatening, appreciative environment.
The culture has changed from being sceptical of art and its artists, to becoming active in its progress. The Regional Arts Council claims it has become a model project. Patron of the Arts, Bernie Ryan (4th generation dairy farmer) supports local artists and provides a gallery space. He commissions work from his local art pool and has enhanced the creative strength of the area. He believes that most patrons in Australia over fund sport and neglect the Arts.
Original Artists that have been nourished by the community include Linden Lancaster and Bella Angyal. They have forged a path that leads back to future artists in the area.
Linden Lancaster was applying Nathalia landscape into her quilts, creating visual pieces that few saw until she showed her work in the local G.R.A.I.N.store windows. She is now an international success. She applies 3 layers to produce multi-dimensional and textural work, through material collage. Her landscapes are reminiscent of Hockney’s later work but her palette is fabric and her brush is a needle
Bella Angyal, a self-taught artist, depicted stark realism through sculpture. His statues are erected in the town centre. His war sculpture ‘Mateship’ depicts the trauma of violence; his ‘heroes’ are local lads struggling through travesty. It’s the excessive detail that gives the work its haunting reality.
All forms of Art, Craft, Music and Poetry, are supported by the Centre. They invite international talent into the town to give talks and workshops that provide a means of access through exposure. The art seed has germinated in Nathalia, it has all the support networks necessary to allow it to develop.
“You do what you think will make the world a better place” Artist Veronica Kelly claims.
Top image: from AQC 2015 Quilt Show/The Letter by Linden Lancaster
When clothes do matter! Cinderella is the ‘It girl’ of the season. Even without a mother, there is the godmother to provide a night out on the town. The wicked sisters may lack the talent, taste and kindness of their rival sister but their comic timing is perfect.
The costumes are a remarkable stroke of insight. They communicate a large hunk of the tale. Ballet has no voice; the palette is made up of dance, drama, costume, score and set. The show is catchy with a surrealistic bite, re-told with a modern edge.
No one has moves like the Prince (Ty King Wall). The magnetic duo are drawn together when Cinderella (Lana Jones) ‘steals the show’ and sets the tone at the ball. The twisted sisters are deliciously offbeat.
There is nothing like a dance story told by a dance company, frock them up and send them to a Ball. This is why you should go! The dancing and Alexei Ratmansky’s choreography is a visual delight.
Cinderella is an interesting fairytale to re-visit; it carries life lessons in a purse of simple context. Jealousy is unable to suppress the hopeful soul. When humans fail, the stars align to aid her journey and her destiny.
As the full moon hangs heavy over Melbourne skies, another moon and another season, the ‘Midsummer Night’, takes flight in the deep chambers of the Art Centre, on the opening night of The Dream.
Enter into the enchanted forest where mischief casts spells on the unaware and leads them into late night folly, only to awake with a hangover of regret. Does it sound familiar? Of course it does. One can always rely on Shakespeare to understand the human heart.
“How can these things come to pass? O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!”
One does not need to read the play, to love The Dream. The magical blend of music and ballet lead the audience through the drama. The audience chuckled spontaneously through the performance, it’s bewitching and it’s funny. They cheered and applauded.
The visual beauty of the set and performance is unworldly; it’s easy for us to be tripped into its spell. The music and the dance are fused into one. The poetry of our slumber awakens to newer world, an alternative, and a deviation from the probable path into a fantastic alternative that leads us safely back, to our destination.
Ballet of this calibre is a sublime experience.
Puck, (Chengwu Guo) the mischievous fairy, is a tad liberal with his love potions, which leads to squabbles and confrontations. His dance is super-imposed with thrill and adventure whereas the ‘labourers’ trod a heavy step. It’s the unique combination of dance that binds multiple styles and creates a visual texture to the play that is echoed by the score. Kevin Jackson is mesmerising as Oberon.
Chief Conductor Nicolette Fraillon leads the orchestra gently into the play with the strings and piano opening the drama, she builds the momentum with the wind instruments that tantalise the audience into a heightened state of expectation.
David Walkers set is magnificent, enriched by the lighting techniques of John B Read. It’s a sensory feast. The evening begins with the abstract dance of Symphonic Variations and Monotones 11, which showcases the talent of Frederick Ashton and the skill and grace of the dancers. This clears the pallet to make way for the rich, full-bodied production of the Dream.