Photo – Jess Bialek
The Dancers Company’s production of Don Quixote: A Ballet in Three Acts, is a real celebration of the wonderful talent the Australian audience is invited to enjoy on their stage. The ballet features the 2011 graduating students of The Australian Ballet School with guest artists from The Australian Ballet and is a real showcase for the dancer’s skill, passion and joy in performance.
Don Quixote tells the story of an experienced man, fascinated with the subject of knight-errantry who decides that with his Squire, Sancho Panza (Stefan Kulhawec), he will seek out suitable adventures. The purpose of his travels is to locate the object of his grandiose affection, the Lady Dulcinea. The audience is taken on this journey from his home in picturesque Spanish village, La Mancha and is party to the forbidden courtship of Kitri and Basilio. Kitri is the only daughter of the inn keeper, Lorenzo, who has arranged for her to wed into nobility by taking the hand of Gamache, who’s affections serve as amusement.
In a form such as ballet, the audience’s impressions of the characters are informed by the quality and production of movement. The detail of Ai-Gul Gaisina’s choreography and the way it is mastered by the dancers is to be applauded. The artistic precision and electric energy enhance the experience of the narrative. The intimacies of the Spanish sensibility are evoked through the simplistic set (by Francis Croese and Scott Mathewson), wonderfully detailed and coloured costumes (by Barry Kay) and the particularly Spanish themes of flamenco, gypsies and Matadors that are explored in the choreography.
Each of the characters is articulated by a particular style of movement. Simon Dew’s Don Quixote is robust and assured, creating a wonderful presence on stage. In contrast the portrayal of Gamache (Matthew Donnelly) was wonderfully overt and provides enjoyable comic release through physical farce. The young lovers, Kitri (Reiko Hombo) and Basilio (Yosvani Ramos) are wonderfully paired and their fluid movements are an extension of each others, creating a beautiful bond and some particularly sparkling moments. Their choreography is delicate and graceful and their performance riveting. Utilising a more sensual style, the Lead Gypsy girl (Coco Mathieson) and Lead Gypsy boy (Benjamin Stone) celebrate a more raw and magnetic coupling highlighted by stronger movement, suggesting their defiance of society.
The music by Ludwig (Léon) Minkus is thoroughly beautiful and weaves around the audience. The fantastic fusion of artistic elements creates a truly cohesive performance. Don Quixote: A Ballet in Three Acts is a thoroughly enjoyable, energetic and inspiring production.
The Australian Ballet presents The Dancers Company
Don Quixote: A Ballet in Three Acts
Choreography Ai-Gul Gaisina after Marius Petipa
Music Ludwig (Léon) Minkus
Touring Victoria, Tasmania and NSW throughout 2011