Sydney Social 101 went to seeWest Australian Ballet, flying high on a string of artistic and commercial achievements, as they made their debut at the Sydney Theatre in October with a stunning celebratory program – NEON LIGHTS – featuring some of the dance world’s most celebrated choreographers.
Headlining Neon Lights is Un Ballo from luminary Jiøí Kylián (former Artistic Director of Nederlands Dans Theater). Kylian has been at the forefront of modern dance since the early 1970s, creating more than 100 choreographies. His works are held in repertoire by most of the world’s major ballet companies.
Un Ballo, ‘a dance’, may be understood in the traditional connotation of a social event. It is not the choreographer’s intention to have the spectator search for deep or symbolical contents; he considers it an exercise in musicality and sensitivity between male and female partners.
“…the seven couples… capture the romanticism of the Maurice Ravel music along with the formalism and flirtation of couples at a ball.” Dance Magazine 2004
“[The dancers’] molten bodyline and precision made [Un Ballo] almost transcendental” The Australian 2011
“West Australian Ballet’s pairings created stunningly beautiful forms” – The Australian 2011
“Masterful and elegant” The West Australian 2011
Australian Dance Theatre Artistic Director, Garry Stewart, returns to Sydney Theatre following his own company’s electrifying Be Your Self in June. He features on the bill with The Centre and its Opposite, created in 2010 for Birmingham Royal Ballet. The work is set to a rhythmically powerful, industrial electric score by Huey Benjamin.
“Very exciting to watch” ballet.co.uk magazine
“This is a work of technical bravura” Dance Europe
Stewart says ‘The reason the piece is called The Centre and its Opposite is because conventionally the centre is the most powerful part of the stage. However, there’s a devolution of power in this piece, an acknowledgement of the power of any place on the stage, and the dancers use their wiles to draw the gaze of the audience towards them… inviting to be seen, wanting to be looked at, attracting the gaze of the audience is something that dancers inherently are conditioned to do. And so this work is an ironic acknowledgement of that.’
Audience favourite, Alejandro Cerrudo’s Lickety Split, has its East Coast premiere in this special program. Taking his inspiration from the music and lyrics of folk musician, Devendra Banhart, Lickety-Split was Spanish choreographer Cerrudo’s first full-length ballet, created for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2006 and re-staged for West Australian Ballet in 2009.
“It was a pleasure to watch six dancers weave their way whimsically through relationships and moments of ‘being’… sinuous and sometimes quirky” The West Australian 2009
Finally, outgoing Artistic Director Ivan Cavallari presents his stunning choreography Strings 32, set to the exquisite strains of Paganini and Kreisler performed live by guest violinist Madeline Antoine.
“A lone violinist roams the stage, dancers are tethered to elastic strings which zip energetically across the stage…the strings are physical and emotional, as well as musical” The West Australian 2012
“The show-stealer” The West Australian 2012
“… a fluidly executed enactment of the serendipity of human contact” The Australian 2012
Cavallari has presided over West Australian Ballet during a period which has seen the company increase in size to 32 dancers and move to a prestigious new State Ballet Centre. He has choreographed several new ballets for the company, including a critically acclaimed full-length version of The Nutcracker, and a new full-length Pinocchio premiering this September. He has also brought some of the world’s most celebrated repertoire to the company, including works by John Cranko, Uwe Scholz and George Balanchine, and supported many of Australia’s finest and emerging artists.
West Australian Ballet
Dates: 17 to 21 October 2012
Venue: Sydney Theatre, 22 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Tickets: Box Office: 9250 1777
Price: $30 – $69 (transaction fees apply)