Left – Vivienne Wong. Photo – Justin Ridler
Faster is modern ballet in its truest form. The production is segmented into three works, completely unlike each other. They explore moments in time, people, places and how they connect to each other. The opening night presented ‘Faster’, ‘Squander and Glory’, and ‘Infra’, in running order. Each capture something of humanity; together, a living breathing representation of life in all its wonder.
According to the bill, ‘Faster’ was, “created in anticipation of the 2012 London Olympics”. The performance, which was high energy (and a lot more accessible than the two that followed), really captured the essence of elite athletes in their element. The choreography, by David Bintley, was imaginative yet very imitative – in its most positive sense. The dancers, costumed in basketball gear, fencing attire, and running shoes, looked and behaved like athletes. ‘Faster’ demonstrated the drama of the Olympics, with a few chuckles as they impersonated synchronised swimmers and speed walkers, panting at regular intervals. Dancer, Ben Davis had the audience giggling every time he speed-walked on stage.
‘Squander and Glory’ marked the significant mood shift from ‘Faster’, offering a more melancholic modern ballet. Inspired by the essay The Accursed Share by French philosopher Georges Bataille, this was reflective of the physical environment. Beginning with the rumbling of thunder, the dancers floated across the stage, almost becoming the living organism that Bataille referred to. ‘Squander and Glory’ captured the development and loss of movement. The peaks and troughs of the choreography, by Tim Harbour, showed the building of energy and its depletion.
Lastly, ‘Infra’ continues the melancholic theme. Here, we see the intersection of people and place in the urban city. ‘Infra’ cuts at the core of humanity and its interaction. As reflected on the digital installation that looms above the stage, the dancers appear to glide by each other, some interacting, and some not. Like a pedestrian crossing, it is a dynamic performance that captures the vital nature of communication. ‘Infra’, conceptualised, directed and choreographed by Wayne McGregor, above all else reinforces that dance is justly a universal language.
Altogether, it is difficult to see the directly common thread between these works, however as stand-alone performances, they are exemplary in production and showcase the amazing talents of the dancers. Faster is provoking modern ballet. A full 360 departure from the classical equivalents, it will leave you pondering the connections between people, places and time.
The Australian Ballet presents
Infra – Squander and Glory – Faster
Venue: Sydney Opera House
Dates: 7 – 26 April 2017
Tickets: From $43