Photos – Darren Thomas
It’s spring in Brisbane, festival season and with it Snow White has arrived. Ballet Preljocaj’s Snow White is this year’s QPAC International Series performance exclusive, run in association with the Brisbane Festival.
Fairytales are embedded into the western world’s storytelling DNA. Because of this we are intimately familiar with these narratives, exposed to countless artistic representations of these timeless stories. Snow White is unique and despite attempts to sweeten the story, it’s always retained its dark edge. The contrast of good versus evil, youth versus age is stark. Angelin Preljocaj manipulates every artistic element to give audiences a mesmerizing contemporary dance piece that plays with the vast contrast between Snow White’s themes while also exploring the unlimited space that lies in between. It is an incredibly transfixing, thrilling and delightful contemporary dance feast that will captivate you.
Ballet Preljocaj’s Snow White is so beguiling that it is easily a performance I would revisit again and again. There is so much to savour within this performance that to comment on one or two aspects of the show is an injustice to the artists who collaborated to bring this magical piece to life.
The ensemble exceeded expectation. Lead character dancers, Emilie Lalande (Snow White), Cecilia Torres Morillo (The Queen) and Redi Shtylla (Prince) were the sparkling centerpiece of the performance embodying the essence of their roles on opening night. Not one dancer in the whole company disappointed and the breadth and depth of their individual skills was exploited to the full by Preljocaj’s choreography. Couture became costume with Jean Paul Gaultier’s designs adding to the striking visuals while subtly enhancing the aesthetic style. Minimal set design by Thierry Leproust framed the dance perfectly. The shading and contrast of colours that played between the dancers, the lighting, the set and the costumes all drew the eye to the movement and stillness, sound and silence adding a powerful dimension to heighten the performance. Gustav Mahler’s music in addition to music from 79 D gently thrust all deeper into the narrative.
Ballet Preljocaj is sumptuous yet somehow through Preljocaj’s masterful choreography, a refined simplicity remains with this glowing and grim retelling of Snow White. To have (yet another) interpretation of such a well-known narrative delivered is common. What is rare about this Snow White is that it doesn’t once allow the viewer’s focus to wane and perfectly punctuates the themes and characters through the dance. Ballet Preljocaj’s Snow White will seep into your soul and lure you to come back to this performance over and over again.
QPAC International Series 2016
Venue: Lyric Theatre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Dates: 2 – 11 September 2016