The limestone cavern of the Quarry Amphitheatre comes to life with one of the highlights of the arts calendar in Perth; Ballet at the Quarry.
As the sun sets the lithe dancers from Australia’s oldest ballet company begin their warm up, offering an immediate and intimate connection not seen at performances elsewhere.
Under the guidance of artistic director Aurelion Scannella, this season at the Quarry cements WA Ballet as an innovative and world class ballet company.
This year’s format includes four short works and I felt the company stepped into a new direction with three world premieres and an Australian premiere offering the audience something unique.
Personally I felt a gentleness in each work which I had not seen in previous seasons at the Quarry.
The night kicks off with a 20-minute performance of Paradise Within, a contemporary piece from French choreographer Patrick Delcroix in his inaugural work for the company.
It examines the light and dark within us all, and nine dancers grace the stage with beautifully designed contemporary costumes representing the many shades of each of our persons. My partner and I chatted quietly about each of our personal interpretations and really felt it delivered a message of living in the moment.
The second piece Les Indomptes featured principal dancer Matthew Lehman and Corps de Ballet dancer Jesse Holmes, both dancing perfectly in sequence in a work where they re-discovered their animal instincts. This piece was up-beat and the talent of the male dancers imbued their strength but again I felt a gentleness from the piece – it was beautiful.
Ghost Gum was the third work and featured principal dancer Brooke Widdison-Jacobs and demi soloist Polly Hilton who graced the stage with their fluidity all the more enhanced by the magnificent lighting.
Milnjiya, Milk Way – River of the Stars was the final act and the one which I was really excited about. A collaboration of opera, ballet and Aboriginal dance this is a world first.
Northern Territory Dance company’ Gary Lang created this story from his own Yolngu family story.
Four traditional Aboriginal artists have come from central Australia to join the production including song man Banula Marika, Yidaki (didgeridoo) player Malnagay Yunupingu and dancers’ Ngalkanbuy and Loretta Yunupingu. The troupe opened the piece with their beautiful and inspiring spiritual song and dance. They feature throughout the work and with the combination of opera singer Deborah Cheetham and eight dancers this work was extraordinary.
Personally it was the best ballet I have ever seen and WA Ballet should be applauded for this magnificent and innovative work. I left the performance feeling that it had brought us together as people – as one Australia – all under the milky way.
Bravo, Bravo, Bravo – do not miss this ballet!
Ballet at the Quarry – Milky Way
9 February to 3 March
Tickets $48 – $79
Group bookings 136 100