Left – Suite En Blanc. Cover – Apollo
The English National Ballet have a mixed bag of performances at this event; a 'greatest hits' that really showcases the talent of the classically trained dancers. They call it 'celebrations: a selection of favourite pas de deux'. You will be treated to scenes from Apollo, Trois Gnossiennes, Manon, Swan Lake (Black Swan Pas De Deux) and Suite En Blanc. And they have been shipped over the perfect time to add to the celebrations of the Queen's Jubilee.
The stage/setting is minimalist. You will see a flight of stairs and a raised stage at most. However, this is all drawing attention to the dancers, who (like all skilled dancers do) produce effortless-looking movements, jolting metres into the air and producing more fouettées than humanly possible. Because of the lack of set (no grand props or scenery here), it almost felt like I was attending a dress rehearsal. Not to say that the dancing wasn't superb, as it was, but it was really stripped back (even in the costuming). You could even hear (from the dress circle), their feet as they landed after every grand jeté on the stage. But this was great; it made it feel more intimate and even more real.
Quite often when you attend the ballet, you feel as if you are whisked away to another world, leaving everything behind. It is incredibly fantastical and quite fairytale-like. However, this showcase from the English National Ballet will show you how all of that bedazzling doesn't matter if you don't have the best dancers on stage. The dancers, which hail from across the globe including China, Russia, Georgia, Japan and Cuba, are the absolute finest. Even though the performance ran for approximately 2.5hrs (including 2 intervals), you will be left wanting more.
The Concourse is a newly renovated venue in the heart of Chatswood. It has come up beautifully, equipped with light installations, a few bars (to grab some drinks during either of the 2 intervals) and great surrounding nightlife. Even though we had a few problems with ticketing on the night, it's a great place to head to and is looking like it will be the new arts/entertainment precinct in Sydney. The Mayor of Willoughby Council, Pat Reilly, made that quite clear to all that attended the opening night of this performance.
English National Ballet
Venue: Performing Arts Centre on The Concourse, Chatswood
Dates: June 8 – 17, 2012
Bookings: Ticketek 1300 795 012 | www.theconcourse.com.au/enb