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Nederlands Dans Theatre
REVIEWS | Par Sara Veale

In pursuit of profundity

There’s ample room for wavering quality within a mixed bill. A couple of solid pieces can easily compensate for a weak one, and it only takes one standout work to make audiences recall a programme favourably, provided its companions aren’t complete duds.

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Ballet Imperial
REVIEWS | Par Gracia Haby

Imperial Suite

“See the music, hear the dance,” a quote attributed to George Balanchine, perfectly encapsulates “Ballet Imperial,” Balanchine’s one-act love letter to the choreography of Marius Petipa and the compositions of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and the splendour of imperial Russia as he saw it. The work employs Petipa’s courtly overtone with its hierarchical framework of dancers and melds it to Tchaikovsky’s Concerto No. 2 in G major, op. 44. The result is a work that whilst recalling the Winter Palace with all its grandeur, typifies his belief that “dance is music made visible.” And having now seen this work performed twice...

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Alice Topp
REVIEWS | Par Gracia Haby

Torque of the Town

Deoxyribonucleic acid, a hereditary, self-replicating material present in humans and nearly all living organisms is a near-to dictionary definition of DNA, and this year’s “Bodytorque” theme. When we think of DNA, we picture two threads coiled to form a double helix not unlike a spiral staircase. And just as this genetic blueprint of “who we are” exists in countless possible conformations, so too it does in the 2014 season of the Australian Ballet’s “Bodytorque.” “Mysterious and ubiquitous, secretive and powerful, the elegant molecule is the engine of life on this planet. Now, a new generation of choreographers have created works...

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Chroma
REVIEWS | Par Gracia Haby

Playlist

From the second definition of the word chroma, freedom from white, comes the entry point to this work of the same name, which affords the dancers of the Australian Ballet a whole new range of brilliant, athletic, hyper-extended movements. A languid wave one moment, convulsing and angular the next, movement and tempo in “Chroma,” choreographed by Wayne McGregor in 2006, appears built on contrast and a reduction of means that allows you to see the whole.

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Russell Maliphant
REVIEWS | Par Sara Veale

Still Current

Russell Maliphant’s latest mixed bill is an ode to the art of stage lighting and its uncanny power to charge a performance atmospherically. Under the direction of award-winning designer Michael Hull, the scenic ether of “Still Current” transforms from frantic to serene, intense to halcyon, the performers roving their way through shadowy pathways and flickering swathes of luminosity in search of something brighter. That’s not to say the dancing takes a back seat in this performance, however. The movement on display here is lovingly crafted and consciously centred, drawing its vigour from within and pitching it outwards to electric effect....

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Diavolo
REVIEWS | Par Victoria Looseleaf

Diavolic Feats

When it comes to geometric shapes, Jacques Heim, 50, is obsessed. After founding the risk-intensive, hyper-physical dance troupe Diavolo in Los Angeles in 1992, Paris-born Heim translated that passion into full-blown, custom designed stage sets. Included are a 2-1/2-ton aluminum wheel, a 17-foot-long rocking boat and an enormous cube with more configurations than Mr. Rubik’s.

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Les Grands Ballets
REVIEWS | Par Penelope Ford

Lost in Transfiguration

“Transfigured Night,” Belgian choreographer Stijn Celis' third ballet (“Les Noces,” “Cinderella”) for les Grands Ballets Canadiens, premiered in May. It is a ballet in two parts: the first half tells the Greek myth, Orpheus and Eurydice, entitled “Orpheus' Gaze.” The second half takes its cue from Richard Dehmel's 1896 poem, Transfigured Night, and is set to Arnold Schoenberg's 1899 composition of the same name. The advantage of pairing the two apparently independent ballets in narrative terms, is a subtle one.

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Mouth to Mouth
REVIEWS | Par Victoria Looseleaf

Mouth to Mouth

Scott McCabe hops on one leg, his other limb elevated and tucked behind his ear at 6 o’clock (think Stephen Colbert dancing with the Rockettes to Daft Punk as part of his Colbchella week); David Maurice cuts a Nijinsky-esque swath as he leaps through the air; and Danielle Agami, clad in red-trimmed, high-waisted black satin boy shorts and a solitary stiletto boot, whip in hand, her breasts adorned with palm tree-like, er, pasties, could be a terpsichorean dominatrix—or a distant cousin to Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.

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Love is Blind
REVIEWS | Par Gracia Haby

Love is Blind

Dance is music and music is dance and none more so than in “Love is Blind” by choreographer Russell Dumas. What we hear moulds what we see, and what we see moulds what we hear. As befits the black ink setting where faces are glimpsed and bodies are cloaked, this work teasingly and beautifully poses more questions than it seeks to answer, as it looks to renegotiate the terms of engagement of dance and music. This is a work that “investigates the intricate relationship between sight and sound and the somewhat surprising way that hearing trumps seeing.”

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Into the Unknown
REVIEWS | Par Gracia Haby

Into the Unknown

In similar fashion to a time capsule, I am writing down what I think Nat Cursio’s “The Middle Room,” presented by Theatre Works as part of the inaugural Festival of Live Art (FOLA), might be before I see it so as to compare it to the experience of after—Robots in the home and flying cars by 2010! Really? You can’t be serious? In writing down what I expect, as surmised from interviews and descriptions of the performance; I am laying open my anxieties and smallness where the interactive is called for. The name alone—Festival of Live Art—fills this quiet mouse...

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Manon
REVIEWS | Par Gracia Haby

Lavish Farewell

All bathed, all drowned in a golden light. Like Carle Van Loo’s 1737 painting, Halt in the Hunt, our stage palette is set. Rusty browns and sandy ochres give way to earthy greens. This is nature, human nature, with all its lust for power and pleasure, its poverty and its rat-catchers, harlots, and spinsters jostling side-by-side. Our eye, like in that of the painting, is drawn to those of import in blue (des Grieux, our romantic, besotted and well-intentioned student-cum-hero) and red (Monsieur GM, “an old voluptuary, who paid prodigally for his pleasures”[note]Abbé Prévost, History of Manon Lescaut and of...

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L.A. Dance Project Ace Hotel
REVIEWS | Par Victoria Looseleaf

Reflections

Dance, architecture and Hollywood came together in a big way when L.A. Dance Project began its residency (performances are also scheduled for the fall) at the new Ace Hotel. And no, this was not a site-specific work danced on the rooftop by the troupe Benjamin Millepied founded in 2012 as an artist collective along the lines of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, but a bona fide concert presented on stage of the hip hotel’s theatre.

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