Made to Move, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Orchestra Wellington
St James Theatre, Wellington, February 27-March 24
Three world premieres in one night is a splendid marker for the Royal New Zealand Ballet's 60th anniversary.
The company, in outstanding form, deliver a night of spirited dancing in entertaining, thought provoking and beautiful works.
Choreographer/set designer Javier de Frutos' Anatomy of a Passing Cloud is a stunningly clever, multi-layered work that on the surface is an evocation of the Pacific in all its vigour and beauty, yet beneath, perhaps all is not well in paradise.
Using a hybrid style of dance - a fusion of classical ballet, contemporary and Polynesian movements - he also mixes a reading from Genesis in Maori, traditional Cook Island drums, chants and songs and the harmonies of the Yandall Sisters with aplomb. We smile, but we also think.
In an outstanding cast - including Lucy Balfour, Tonia Looker, Antonia Hewitt and Loughlan Prior - Abigail Boyle and Dinitri Kleioris are exceptional.
Their passionate duet resonates well beyond the reef. And yes it is subversive - but in what it leaves unsaid.
In Of Days, expatriate choreographer Andrew Simmons has created moments in the lives of people like us with such simplicity and clarity.
The back-projected words were unnecessary.
The company are a superb ensemble culminating in a sublime pas de deux by Brendan Bradshaw and Antonia Hewitt.
The music of Arnalds, O'Halloran and Einaudi was movingly played and sensitively conducted by Nigel Gaynor.
More champagne than beer, Ethan Stiefel's Bier Halle is bubbly, amusing and soon goes to one's head.
This delightful production set to the waltzes of Johann and Joseph Strauss is Stiefel's first original ballet.
It augurs well for his future choreographies.
Set in a Bavarian beer hall - with a stunning set and costumes by Allan Lees - lederhosen, laughter and loveliness abound.
As the lovers, Gillian Murphy and Qi Huan sparkle with virtuosity and give the work great heart.
Murphy tosses off waltzing en pointe and multiple pirouettes with effortless flair and Qi Huan partners her with delicacy and finesse.
Paul Matthews is an amusing Nerd, Kohei Iwamoto a flirty Cuckoo, Dimitri Kleioris and Jacob Chown are dashing and daring Studs and the whole company shines.
The evening is enhanced by Jason Morphett's apt and atmospheric lighting and the Orchestra Wellington outdo themselves with brio and elan.
Made to Move:
Wellington - St James Theatre
27 February - 2 March 2013
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