Sunday, July 10, 2016


Directed by Simon Hoy
Lighting design by Craig Boyes
Costumes design by Santha King
The Q – Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, July 8th and 9th.

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

Though it’s been established for 10 years, and its Resident Choreographer, Simon Hoy, is a former Canberran, this is the first visit by the Melbourne Ballet Company to the Canberra region. To introduce his company of ten superb dancers, Hoy has devised a program of three relatively short abstract works, two choreographed by himself, and the other by Timothy Harbour, which was presented under the umbrella title of “Divenire”, loosely translated as “to become”, and which is also the title of the first work.

Dancers of the Melbourne Ballet Company performing

Performed to a languidly beautiful piano composition by Italian composer, Ludovico Einaudi,  “Divenire” commences with a lone dancer on stage. As she moves slowly across the stage she is joined by two other female dancers, and together they perform a series of gently intertwining enchainments which gradually resolve into lyrical poses. Eventually two male dancers join them, and as the music gathers momentum, graceful lifts are incorporated to create an exquisite atmosphere in which the movement of the dancers seems totally dictated by the music. Short diaphanous smocks over flesh coloured tights for the girls and neat trunks and tops for the men perfectly complimented the mood of piece, as did the moody dappled side lighting. 

Samuel Harett-Welk  (centre) and dancers from the Melbourne Ballet Company perfor "Zealots" 

Timothy Harbour’s aggressive choreography for his piece, “Zealots”, also performed by five dancers costumed dramatically in clinging bright yellow costumes and black footwear, occupying a harshly lit, white hot stage, provided a startling contrast. Responding to a pumping mechanical score by John Adams, the intricate contemporary movement style cleverly exploited the strong classical technique of the dancers, perhaps best demonstrated in a riveting virtuoso solo for Samuel Harett-Welk.

For his final work for the program, “Lucidity”, Hoy drew his inspiration from Picasso’s famous mural, Guernica, to explore notions suggested by the transmission of light. Presented in four sections, to music by Olafur Arnalds and Max Richter, with an ever-changing background of projected swirling images of an abstract universe, this work was notable for the elegance of the movement, and for two memorable pas de deux, one gently sensuous and superbly executed by Jo Lee and Alexander Baden Bryce, and a strong male pas de deux for Baden Bryce and Samuel Harett-Welk.

Given the enthusiastic reception by the first night audience to their meticulously presented program, it is hoped that the Melbourne Ballet Company, with its distinctive repertoire, superb dancers and elegant style will be destined “to become” a much anticipated visitor to the Canberra region.

This review first published in the digital edition of  "CITY NEWS" ON  09.07.2016