Perpetual motion, states the first and second laws of thermodynamics, is believed impossible to produce, yet I unwittingly found it nesting within “20:21,” the Australian Ballet’s recent triple bill. The continuous motion within George Balanchine’s “Symphony in Three Movements” (1972), Tim Harbour’s new work “Filigree and Shadow” (2015) and Twyla Tharp’s “In the Upper Room” (1986) circumvents such laws. Physicists, I’ll hear no more about it; you’ve been looking in the wrong places. There is a device that can make motion unstoppable and it can be found at the core of these three ballets.
Brett Chynoweth, Jade Wood, Jill Ogai and Calvin Hannaford in “In The Upper Room.” Photograph by Kate Longley