Saturday, July 9, 2016

Divenire - Melbourne Ballet Company

“Divenire” by Simon Hoy, music by Ludovico Einaudi
“Zealots” by Timothy Harbour, music by John Adams
“Lucidity” by Simon Hoy, music by Ólafur Arnalds and Max Richter

Melbourne Ballet Company, directed by Simon Hoy; lighting designer – Craig Boyes; costume designer – Santha King.  At The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, Friday July 8 and Saturday July 9, 2016.

Dancers: Kristy Denovan; Jo Lee; Chloe Henderon; Masha Peker; Francesca Giangrasso; Chloe Lauverjon; Alex Baden Bryce; Samual Harett; Charles Riddiford; Adam Thurlow.

Reviewed by Frank McKone
July 8

Watching modern abstract dance is parallel to viewing modern abstract painting.  The work does not incorporate pictures or storylines with obvious interpretations, yet affects us emotionally through the inter-relationships between colour and line.  The advantage of dance is that it is made up of a huge number of momentary images changing in time, relating to sound, rhythm and even rhyme – and not just in a single figure but often among several at the same time.  For me it is the dynamism of dance that makes an impact so much greater than a static painting can achieve.

Yet there is another line of response.  Over time as you study a painting, your imagination makes more connections, and so the impact of the painting grows and changes.  Dance is more ephemeral, relying on a review in hindsight to put together more thoughts and feelings.

These three works, under the overall title of Divenire, which means to ‘become’ in Italian, worked for me.  The first two, comprising the first half of the show, were light and enjoyable in mood, tuneful and upbeat like the music, while showing in subtle ways how complex our relationships are.  After interval, the mood changed to a dark colour, literally in the costumes and metaphorically in the movements and the clashing sound.  It was enough to say, don’t let yourself be too easily taken in.  Those complex relationships contain the possibility of disaster. 

So my advice is not to spend too much time studying the printed program – especially the description of “Lucidity”, giving definitions of ‘limpidity’, ‘pellucidity’, ‘clarity’ and ‘lucidity’.  It was interesting to know that this work was largely in response to Picasso’s famous war painting “Guernica”, but I don’t need intellectualised game-playing, like quoting Ayn Rand, of all people, on lucidity being “the recognition and acceptance of reason as one’s only source of knowledge, one’s only judge of values and one’s only guide to action.”

Let the dance do the talking in its own language.  That’s enough for me.

PS:  The printed sheet said there were four works, including something by Tim Podesta.  Perhaps touring has taken its toll, but this program of an hour’s worth of dancing with a 20 minute interval was successful as it stood.  

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