Tuesday, August 29, 2017

ARCHE - Melbourne Ballet Company

Concept and Direction by Simon Hoy
Choreographed by Simon Hoy and Timothy Podesta
Presented by Melbourne Ballet Company
The Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre 25th and 26th August 2017

Reviewed by Bill Stephens

With their production of “Arche’”,  Melbourne Ballet Company have come up with a delightfully quirky antidote for those dance devotees who feel that maybe  they’ve seen enough versions of “Swan Lake” to last a lifetime, as well as a tantalising evening of captivating dance for those who’ve not yet experienced  “Swan Lake”.

Choosing the Greek word relating to the beginning or source of the action, to provide the title and the key, and working with a cast of just nine superb dancers, choreographers Simon Hoy and Timothy Podesta have followed the basic storyline of “Swan Lake”, while refocussing the familiar story.

Alexander Baden Bryce (Von Rothbart) - Kristy Lee Denovan (Odette/Odile) 

The central figure is now Von Rothbart, danced with commanding malevolence by Alexander Baden Bryce, and among his bevy of swan maidens is Odette/Odile, (Kristy Lee Denovan) who captures the heart of the handsome Prince Siegfried (Michael Braun) and provides him with his Specsaver moment at the end of the ballet.

Those familiar with  “Swan Lake” will enjoy the many references to the original, especially the re-invented dance for the four cygnets, and the entrance of the swans in Act 11. But the choreographers have not confined themselves to “Swan Lake”, cheekily including references to “The Dying Swan”, and even the Greek myth, “Leda and the Swan”, to create imaginative sequences danced to interpolations of music from a variety of composers in addition to the familiar Tchaikovsky.

The broad, sweeping choreography is idiosyncratic, constantly surprising, and often very beautiful, with lovely long lines interrupted unexpectedly with bent knees, feet and wrists.  Especially memorable are the Grecian-inspired dance for the ballroom guests and the sequence in which four swans create remarkable shapes while preening themselves on the lake. The spectacular lifts and inventive floor-work was impeccably executed by all the dancers, who perform in an uncluttered setting of evocative projections, wearing provocative, whimsical costumes which perfectly suited the mood of the piece. 

This review first published in the digital edition of CITY NEWS on 26th August 2017