Melbourne Ballet Company has been busy putting out three new shows in less than a year and has another project planned for November. They are on their way to establishing a signature aesthetic as they continue to build on their strengths.
Their recent Project Three: Scarce Resources is a compact triple bill that, while not choreographically very bold, does showcase clean, refined technique across the board. The ensemble of five - Emily Mathieson, Kaisey Johnston, Phyllis Huang, Richard Porter and Sharon Fernandez are a tight ensemble. They handle both balletic and neo-classical/contemporary movement with polished control and even keel, bringing professionalism to proceedings.
No Consensus, with choreography and music by Simon Pulga opened the night. Starting with a duet and solo in a dark light, it built into more dynamic and differently textured sections, climaxing with a percussive female trio. Drenched by Robert Kelly and Simon Hoy, with music by Arvo Part, also counterbalanced duet and group sections. In sheer flowing jackets, the dancers executed high kicks, arabesque turns and contemporary rolls to the floor. Fernandez stood out with a short but very sharp turning solo. Submerged, also by Hoy (music by Samuel Barber) had a similar feel and rounded out the night.
While the works all had different inspirations, there was a sameness about them and none stood out as especially distinct. The choreographic vocabulary and formations, the costuming and their ensemble groupings all resembled each other. This is not to discredit the quality of the dancing and its tight connection with the music, which was consistently spot on.
In Project One, Melbourne Ballet Company worked with over-ambitious themes such as the Iraqi war and a complicated tango-infused love triangle. These did not succeed because they were too literal and overdrawn. Here in Project Three, it is the opposite - there is solid technical dancing and the performers look confident, but where is the dramatic bite?
This is all part of the company’s challenge in their ongoing evolution to forge a unique identity. With “scarce resources” Melbourne Ballet Company is carrying on and continuing to make works and this is to be admired. Let’s see where they take things next and how they can meld their technical ability with more gutsy ideas and explorations.
Melbourne Ballet Company presents
Scarce Resources - Project Three
Venue: Chapel Off Chapel | 12 Little Chapel St, Prahran (Melways: Map 2L Ref J10)
Dates: 7 May – 11 May
Times: Wed – Sun 7:30pm; 1pm matinee Sat
Tickets: $35 Full, $25 Concession (+ booking fee)
Bookings: 03 8290 7000 or www.chapeloffchapel.com.au