Each summer, Western Australia’s finest dancers perform against a backdrop of stars and gum trees at Floreat’s magnificent quarry amphitheatre – a celebration of the raw beauty and energy of human movement.
This year’s programme is a vibrant and diverse selection of four contemporary performances, which includes a traditional Yolngu creation story, a WA Ballet Christopher Hill premiere, and the works of two French choreographers, Claude Brumachon and Patrick Delcroix.
First up on opening night was Paradise Within, a fast-paced, intense, emotionally-charged exploration of mood and temperament; the highs and lows. Delcroix is known for his fluid style and this piece certainly kept moving and had the audience guessing where it was going, with the stage full of dancers interacting and intersecting.
The Australian premiere of Claude Brumachon’s renowned work, Les Indomptes, was performed by energetic duo Matthew Lehmann and Jesse Homes. Lehmann is always a joy to watch and the pair did well together, although they were not always perfectly in sync.
Although their bodies were different in height and shape, Brooke Widdison-Jacobs and Polly Hilton moved wonderfully together in Ghost Gum, and the simple, flowing lines of the costuming were masterfully designed for this dance. Remarkably, Christopher Hill was the choreographer, composer, musician and co-designer of costumes and lighting for this performance, which is his second choreography for Ballet at the Quarry, after last year’s work, The Clearest Light. He has proven his skills again with this premiere – an exploration of the relationship between water and earth, which flowed beautifully from one scene to another and was delightful to watch.
The evening’s finale, Milnijya, Milky Way – River of Stars, was a ground-breaking collaboration between Gary Lang NT Dance Company, West Australian Ballet and Opera artist Deborah Cheetham AO, and was a fascinating re-telling of a traditional Yolngu Milky Way creation story. The merging of traditional dancers and ballet dancers was an exciting celebration of the rich cultural history and stories of our country, overlayed with the haunting sounds of Cheetham, who radiated in a sparkling white gown and pearls.
Ballet at the Quarry is a Perth Festival favourite for many and most nights are already sold out again this year, so get in quickly if you’re yet to book.
West Australian Ballet presents
Milky Way: Ballet at the Quarry
Venue: Quarry Amphitheatre, City Beach WA
Dates: 9 February – 3 March 2018
Tickets: $48 – $79