Review by Miranda Johnson
Ballet at the Quarry is a summer classic: a fantastic way to get a taste of what’s happening in the world of dance in a beautiful setting that encompasses the Australian bush, dramatic rock formations, and the twinkling lights of the city below. This year’s offering from WA Ballet was a series of five vignettes, all very different but fundamentally dealing with themes of introspection, physical challenge, and the many different forms of movement that are all considered dance. From classical to hip-hop, contemporary to acrobatic, the dancers demonstrated time and again their astonishing talents of agility, strength, and grace.
The five pieces were very diverse in terms of mood and tempo, but a common occurrence was that the dancers often appeared on stage in uneven numbers, an unusual strategy adding a dynamic twist to the classical moves that appeared alongside hip-hop, contemporary and experimental dance. From a classical scene exhibiting fantastic technical challenges set to a fast and furious musical except from Coleman’s Giselle, to a hip-hop inspired piece that made clear the multidirectional links between the histories of both dance and music (ballet melting into acrobatics into breakdance, and jazz music morphing into rap), the works were clearly crowd-pleasers. The central piece was frantic and somewhat chaotic, dissolving bit by bit into a slow, thoughtful and considered duet, during which the dancers’ shadows darted across the walls of the Quarry, adding to the dramatic mood.
Beautiful, soaring music was another highlight throughout, culminating in a fast-paced, Flamenco-tinged reflection on the nature of dance today. Again, the uneven number of dancers on stage, as well as their bare feet and androgynous, simple costumes challenged and reshaped my preconceived ideas about classical dance, adding nuance and igniting passion.
When: 5 – 27 February 2016 (8pm – gates open 6:30pm)
Where: The Quarry Amphitheatre, City Beach, PERTH
Tickets: A reserve: Adult $67, Concession $56, Youth $52, Junior $50
B reserve: Adult $49, Concession $44, Youth $39, Junior $39
Info: Limited parking, BYO picnic, Picnic Hampers available for purchase, bring warm clothing/blankets and cushions to sit on