Dancers in top form

Reviewed by Nadine Hancock

Allegro: Five Short Ballets

Just when you thought the Royal New Zealand Ballet couldn't get any better, they are back in Invercargill to present their dedicated audiences with Allegro.

Kicking off the programme is Allegro Brillante, a splendid example of Russian romanticism pairing the graceful Lucy Green with the powerful Kohei Iwamoto. Beautiful and mesmerising to watch, this classical piece did not disappoint, leading nicely into Les Lutins ('The Goblins').

A cheeky and fun dance off between three goblins, Les Lutins was perfectly casted with an expressive trio formed by Bronte Kelly, Shaun James Kelly and Arata Miyagawa. Violinist Benjamin Baker and pianist Michael Pansters joined the dancers on stage, playing incredibly difficult pieces. Hearing and seeing live music with the dancers was refreshing, made even better with the interaction between goblin and musicians.

Dunedin choreographer, Daniel Belton, got to shine next with his world premiere of Satellites, an abstract piece focusing on time, movement and science. Captivating to watch, the sixteen strong dancers performed creation with ease and perfect motion as if they were cogs in one bizarre living machine.

As the curtain was raised after the final interval, two acts by New Yorker, Larry Keigwin stunned the crowd. Playful and erotic, Mattress Suite is a collection of dances set around a mattress. It combines classical music with Stevie Wonder's Ain't No Sunshine and Etta James' At Last, showing sexual awakenings through six interlinked pieces. Leaving the narrative up to its audience, the Mattress Suite was fun and sizzling to watch.

Keigwin's second piece, Megalopolis ended the night. Blending a plethora of structural movements, with an urban vibe, this piece left me breathless. Performed with attitude and strength, this is the best I've ever seen the company and by the way the audience reacted they believed that too. As the lights came back on, and the powerhouse company of dances took their bows, loud cheers and applause were heard from the audience and were matched with a number of deserved standing ovations.

Mixing traditional with progressive, this is the perfect taste platter for new and old fans of the ballet. It was spectacular!

The Southland Times