Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Melbourne Ballet Company in Being In Time at the Concourse Chatswood


The Melbourne Ballet Company  (MBC) has been going for a decade now and this is their first visit to the Concourse with their explosive and dynamic triple bill of world premieres given the umbrella title of BEING IN TIME.
One of the important philosophical publications of our time by Martin Heidegger is the foundation for the work. The program examines the belief that philosophical thinking begins with and reflects its human subjects, in their acting, feeling, and as recognisable living human individuals. This existential understanding of being is grounded in time. Another phrase for it is ‘living in the moment’. All three short, sharp works used a recorded soundtrack.
For the first work,  Lucas Jervies (Australian Ballet, Scapino Ballet and Sydney Dance Company) FOUR BALLET which magnificently opened the programme, there was no set as such,  simply the black theatre drapes.
The piece was abstract with no real linear narrative form, but was breathtakingly danced. Sometimes the seemingly boneless dancers in their skin coloured costumes appeared to be spirits of the land. Jervies ‘ choreography was a little  reminiscent of the work of William Forsythe.
Classical ballet technique was used as a base but is reworked and fractured. Sometimes it was fluid and sculptural, demanding long, stretched yet angular arms and laser sharp legs. There were some very difficult and unusual lifts in the partnering.
Tim Podesta’s (South African Ballet Theatre, Projection Dance) ARCHITECTURE OF LOVE was a ‘mood’ ballet with three couples. The piece looked at loss – of love, death and separation.
Special guest artist Mara Galeazzi was magnificent in her intense, dramatic opening solo.
Galeazzi’s strong solo was an aching reflection on loneliness – after the breakup of a relationship? – in an uncaring world focused on other things.
Valgeir Sigurdsson’s score was lyrical yet suspenseful and atmospheric. The three couples interacted within themselves and with each other in an intense atmosphere. At one point the steps were performed apparently mechanically, ‘as if the dancers are trying to put on a brave face hiding their emotions – or is it a dream?’
MBC Director and Resident Choreographer Simon Hoy’s (Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet New York, Carolina Ballet, Ballet Mainz, Germany) DASEIN takes its title from the German word meaning ‘ presence ‘, or perhaps ‘ existence ‘ as explained in a program note which shows the great thought and effort Hoy and his dancers made in creating the work.
Hoy’s at times stretchy , elongated, stylised choreography was performed with feline grace and was quite effective in an MTV sort of way – mostly slinky sculptural blocks of movement in unison . In parts it was as if the dancers were underwater and there was a fascinating mermaid like trio. However it was rather overwhelmed by the various projections which dominated and distracted from the choreography as did the unflattering black and white costumes.
Running time – just under 90 minutes including interval.
The Melbourne Ballet Company performed their concert BEING IN TIME at the Concourse Chatswood for two performances only on the 11th and 12th March 2017.

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