Left - Un Ballo. Choregrapher Jiri Kylian
Picture the sun setting as you open your hamper and sit back with a glass of wine while the stage fills with artists warming up. By the time the sky is twinkling with stars, the performance is about to begin and you are in an ideal frame of mind to soak in the movement and colour of Western Australian Ballet.
The opening night of this year’s Ballet at the Quarry was a typically balmy Perth summer evening and the four performances showcased the incredible talent of our State’s ballet company.
The opening Saudade was beautifully choreographed by Brisbane talent David Jonathon, who first choreographed a piece for Ballet at the Quarry in 2007. Claire Hill and Robert Mills were a sensational partnership and Claire’s dramatic, sensual movements made the dance a joy to watch.
It is always a pleasure to see veterans Jayne Smeulders and Daryl Brandwood on stage and Ombra Leggiera was a chance for them to shake loose some of the confines of classical ballet and have some fun. They relished the comedic opportunity and I found myself giggling to myself as they made silly gestures in mirror image. Perfectly in time, there is never any fear of slip-ups with these two. It wasn’t a pretty piece but it was a fantastic use of music and timing to highlight the flexibility of the human body.
The Australian premiere of Un Ballo was the highlight of the evening. Choregrapher Jiri Kylian said he intended it to be an exercise in musicality and sensitivity between male and female partners and it was a delight to watch the fluidity of movement between the rows of partners. The costuming was used to full effect, with billowing silken skirts used like magician’s capes to mask, distort and enhance the shapes and impressions created by the pairs of male and female artists.
After the interval we were treated to Uwe Scholz’s Seventh Symphony, performed to Beethoven’s rousing score. It was the second time I’d seen this performed – it was also staged at last year’s Gala event – and the music, costuming and lighting come together in a glorious combination in which the performers shine.
Another fantastic start to a year of Western Australian ballet – there is also a solid cast of younger performers who took part in Ballet at the Quarry so there is a lot to look forward to in coming seasons.
West Australian Ballet presents
BALLET AT THE QUARRY
Venue: The Quarry Amphitheatre, City Beach
Dates: 11 February - 5 March 2011
Tickets: $63 - $39
Bookings: Ticketmaster 136 100 | www.ticketmaster.com.au