Tag Archives: ballet

Contemporary, Alive & Faster

The Australian Ballet presents new original work from current Choreographers that explore dance within our contemporary setting. The three acts are Faster,Squander and Glory and Infra.

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There are no tutu’s , all are stripped down, very physical performances with strong male leads and a sense of urgency.

” I love the story telling and its ability for anyone to create their own interpretation and take away a unique experience.” Kevin Ho

INFRA

The richness and pain of life takes place behind closed doors in our most intimate spaces. The drama of being unfolds, between the gaps of daily life. The ‘must do’s’ have no time for the intimate condition. The ‘must do’, is the daily travel to the daily toil. The other stuff is the real us.

English Choreographer Wayne Mc Gregor of the The Royal Ballet, explores the intimate in contrast to the business of life. As rich and deep as our lives are or are not, we dwell within a larger context . Those that fall out of the ‘infra’-structure, fall alone.

The ballet explores social and political content in dance, yet it is deeply sensual. There is a tribal call away from the world  into the instinct. The male soloist that stands in for that call, is memorable in its power.

SQUANDER AND GLORY

Both Australia and Melbourne can be glad to boast of a choreographer as creative and insightful as Tim Harbour. Like INFRA, Harbour seems to be exploring the complexity of intimacy and power. Kevin Ho’s structure appears like a sculpture but looms as much more. The dancers sway to the cult of obedience as though the monument dominates them.

“The negative spaces that surround me…an instinct to carve out those shapes” Harbour

Visually every aspect of the work is sculptural, even the music seems to be in the act of carving. Every muscle in the dancers bodies seems to have been used to create texture, using light and shadow to enhance the effect.

FASTER

Faster opens the triple bill, created in 2012, the year of the London Olympic Games, choreographer David Bintley recreates the drama.The Games are the ultimate statement of giving up everything to be first. To place it last rewinds us to how we got there. Faster, Greater and Better? How much  personal ambition does it take to be a winner.

The dancers within Bintley’s work interchange into human and non-human parts. They may  be a spinning disc or an abstraction of an ego. It explores the outer and inner world of the athlete, the frustration and self-abasement to the harmony of the work coming together within a united self.

This Triple Bill offers contemporary Ballet lovers, a physical. emotional and creative journey. They are raw and sensual Ballet’s that allow the dancers to explore new physical boundaries of space and movement.

Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre Mar 17-27

Sydney Opera House, Joan Sutherland Theatre Apr 7-26

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Ballet Coaching

Jane Moore’s Ballet Academy

Full & Part-time Coaching 0457 13 13 20 http://www.janemooreballet.com.au

Photo’s and article by April Forward.

Coppelia in St Kilda

Coppelia may be as ‘pretty as a picture’ but she has no soul, to live she will need to suck the life out of Franz. Swanilda is his true love, but her passion startles the young man who would prefer his ideal. Fortunately she is persistent.

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It’s a dance off. Swanilda can out dance her peers and Franz is more talented than his, it’s a ‘match made in Heaven’ but fate has a turn. Before the two amazing movers are joined, (which could lead to a standing ovation) evil raises his ugly head in the guise of a mad magician.

It’s a three-part play, with a haunting centre. Some toys can be very intimidating, some boys can be very threatening and some girls can be very curious. It makes great drama, within a comic text. It was the ballet that saved itself.

‘ the plot reads like a modern horror movie, Saint-Leon’s production was a clever commentary on the dangers of infatuation. When the ballet finally opened in Paris in May 1870 it seemed. with its freshness and vitality, as if the art had been reborn in France.Judith Steeh

It was the ballet revival that kept the flame alight in Europe, until the Ballet Russes set it ablaze. Essentially it was designed to excel the ballerina for the delight of its male patrons (like Degas) but was modernised by Ogilvie. The male parts that were performed by ballerinas, were handed over to men and choreographed into the leaps and athleticism, that it is today. It is beautiful ballet with amazing dancing.

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Dimity Azoury as Swanilda & Jarryd Madden as Franz at Saturday Matinee

‘We are delighted to bring back this production, which has long been considered a jewel of The Australian Ballet’s repertoire,’ David McAllister ,Artistic Director

The Palais adds ambience of this period piece, it was first performed on its stage in 1962. The charm of another era resonates through the Saturday matinée, the wood paneling, marble columns, leather seats and ‘cash only’ bars and kiosks. It’s beautiful to walk out its doors and believe the world has not changed on the St Kilda Esplanade.

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Take the journey into enchantment.

 

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Sept 23- Oct 1

Why Degas mattered

The terrors of recent France and the Edgar Degas exhibition in Melbourne, may seem to have nothing in common, but look again.

“Have we loss the supremacy on the field of Fine Arts as we have lost it on the field of battle? Are our Artists like our Generals the victims of a treacherous illusion of seeing themselves invincible?” Ross King

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Petite Danseuse de quatorze ans ou Grande Danseuse habille ; once in NGV permanent collection in 70s-80s

This was the general critical response to the 1872 Exhibition held at the Salon;  the heartbeat that informed the public of what was regarded as Art.The committee that held tight to conservative principles had got it wrong. The times were changing.

The French had loss a war to the Germans and the terms of defeat were so disagreeable to the French that there was Civil war on the streets. Scorched buildings, street executions and dead bodies scarred the city. The public no longer wanted Art or Artists that celebrated Napoleon Wars.

Manet the mentor of the Impressionist who had been made ridiculous by the Salon, it’s critics and the public, for most of his career, was suddenly the ‘toast of the town’. The Socialists were imprisoned and shot after the riots at Montmarte, however the tide had turned. People wanted artists that told their stories, not those of the Ruling Class and its Generals.

“Suddenly , as if in reaction against the grim drabness and horrors of the Siege and the Commune, the Impressionists burst forth into a new,passionate, glorious blaze of colour, redolent with the love of simple, ordinary existence.” Alistair Horne

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detail of The Bellelli Family 1860

The Salon was losing its hold and the cafes where rogue artists congregated were taking hold as the places which informed Artists.It is in this environment that Degas and the Impressionists went forth and re-created new ‘ways of seeing’.

“Drawing is not what one sees but what others are made to see” Degas

Manets tireless battle with the Art Establishment that would have worn down most; forged a path for Modern Art.

“Of Manet’s circle the closest to him in age, intellect and temperament was Edgar Degas,whom Manet first met in 1853, the year of his first rejection from the Salon.” Denis Thomas

Degas purchased a camera on a trip to America and it informed his work, he chose to paint unconventional angles. The Modern Era needed a new voice.

 

 

by April Forward

 

Banner photo by Degas

Alister Horne/ The Fall of Paris

Ross King / The Judgement of Paris

Denis Thomas/ The Impressionists

 

Nijinsky, the ballet of a great artist

Nijinsky by John Neumeier.

‘ The soaring rise and tragic fall of a ballet legend.’

“He is a master story-teller and this is a ballet he has been thinking about, dreaming about , and wanting to stage for his whole choreographic life, so its going to be a great moment for him” 

Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet,, David McAllister announced.

Neumeier was inspired into dance, by this exotic star.

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“It’s a love poem to his great icon” McAllister

“I saw this work in 2001, and had a wonderful evening with John, I asked him if we could do Nijinsky? That was 14 years ago. We didn’t get to do that work, John keeps his work very close to his heart. So after many conversations, and him coming up and seeing the company, he has agreed for us to do this ballet. We are  the second company to do it. John will cast the BalletMcAllister

Vaslav Nijinsky (1890-1950) was the principal dancer and controversial choreographer of the Ballet Russes, during the avant-garde period of Modern Art, when the great Artists of the century, Pablo Picasso and Igor Stravinsky collaborated with the troupe. Diaghilev sacked the dancer, in a jealous rage, when he married a Russian dancer, Romda de Pulszky. Diaghilev chose partners, regardless of their sexual orientation, it was a career move to oblige him. Nijinsky’s fragile mental health would decline without his creative life.

 

presented by the Australia Ballet

Sept 7-17 Melbourne

article by A Forward

Standing Ovations

In The Upper Room

Miranda Caney & Tim Harbour, Photograph by Jeff Busby
Miranda Caney & Tim Harbour, Photograph by Jeff Busby

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.

Ballet Dreaming

Alexei Ratmansky’s

Cinderella

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.

Halaina Hills & Ingrid Gow. Photography by Jeff Busby
Halaina Hills & Ingrid Gow. Photography by Jeff Busby

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.

The Dream

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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.

Perfection!