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The Australian Ballet Presents "Infinity" for Its 50th Anniversary at the David H. Koch Theater

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The Australian Ballet
(Australian Ballet Website)

David McAllister, Artistic Director
Valerie Wilder, Executive Director

Waramuk – in the dark night

At the
David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
June 13, 2012


Luminous (2012) Designed by David McAllister from 50 years of Repertory:

La Favorita, Choreography by Petal Miller-Ashmole, Music by Donizetti.

Giselle Act II Pas de Deux, Choreography by Maina Gielgud, after Coralli and Perrot, Music by Adolphe Adam, Costume Design by Peter Farmer.

Don Quixote Pas de Deux, Choreography by Rudolf Nureyev, after Petipa, Music by Ludwig Minkus, Orchestrated by John Lanchbery, Costume Design by Barry Kay.

Molto Vivace Pas de Deux, Choreography by Stephen Baynes, Music by George Frederic Handel, Costume Design by Anna French.

Divergence Pas de Deux and Ninth Movement, Choreography by Stanton Welch, Music by George Bizet (L’Arlésienne Suite No. 2), Costume Design by Vanessa Leonhjelm.

Tonight’s introduction to The Australian Ballet, at Koch Theater, a program called Infinity, was presented for the occasion of the ballet company’s 50th anniversary. Infinity began with Luminous, a compilation of video (drawn from company archives and created by The Apiary) and live pas de deux, plus one brief ballet, that educated and impressed the audience about five popular ballets in repertory. The film highlighted the influence of earlier artistic directors, choreographers, and guest artists, including Rudolf Nureyev, who choreographed the company’s Don Quixote, as well as its Raymonda. Mr. Nureyev had also danced with the company. La Favorita, with Lana Jones and Daniel Gaudiello, is simply a pas de deux by Petal Miller-Ashmole, with classical virtuosic technique. Leaps, fouettés, lifts, lunges, and so on, abound, to a Donizetti score.

The Giselle pas de deux, with Rachel Rawlins and Ty King-Wall, was transporting and ephemeral, while the Don Quixote pas de deux, with Reiko Hombo and Chengwu Guo, satisfied the audience’s expectation of bravura, spinning leaps and multiple pirouettes. Stephen Baynes’ Molto Vivace pas de deux, with Amber Scott and Adam Bull, danced to music by Handel, was steady, refined, and classic, while the Divergence pas de deux, with Leanne Stojmenov and Rudy Hawkes, from a Stanton Welch ballet, scored with Suite No.2 from “L’Arlésienne”, was my favorite, for its uniquely fascinating, stiff tutus and unusually cut male unitards, as well as its dizzying dervish choreography.

Dyad 1929 (2009) Choreography by Wayne McGregor, Music by Steve Reich (Double Sextet), Stage Concept by Wayne McGregor and Lucy Carter, Costume Design by Moritz Junge, Lighting Design by Lucy Carter, performed by the Company. Dyad 1929, choreographed by Wayne McGregor, is dedicated to the memory of Merce Cunningham. Scored to Steve Reich’s Double Sextet, Mr. McGregor is quoted in the program as paying homage to Sergei Diaghilev as well as Antarctic exploration. That seems to be much to absorb in viewing ballet styled in diptych fashion. With striking black-white leotards, this abstract ballet spotlighted limbs and joints, and dancers intertwined at many levels, while moving in staccato rhythms to the electronic score. This ballet was an opportunity to see company choreography, with the stage filled with pulsating, partnered duos in sharp dynamics.

Waramuk (2012) Choreography by Stephen Page, Music by David Page, Orchestration by Jessica Wells, Sound Design by Bob Scott, Costume Design by Jennifer Irwin, Set Design by Jacob Nash, Lighting Design by Padraig O. Suilleabhain.

Waramuk was performed by the company and by artists from Bangarra Dance Theatre. Stephen Page has created this visually enticing ballet to showcase songs and stories from North East Arnhem Land. Aboriginal roots, including a theme of Aboriginal astronomy, the Milky Way, shooting stars, and ocean tides, makes this a ballet for schools, as well as general audiences. Costumes and hair color are mesmerizing, in blues, browns, silver, and greens (from my vantage point), and the gestalt was mystical and magical. Red lighting shone on the male dancers’ bare chests, and the entire company, plus guest artists, danced as one expansive ensemble en masse. David Page’s score encompassed the cultural and musical dimensions with persuasive power.

Daniel Gaudiello in Miller-Ashmole's "La Favorita"
Courtesy of Lisa Tomasetti

Chengwu Guo in Nureyev's "Don Quixote"
Courtesy of Lisa Tomasetti

The Australian Ballet in Welch's "Divergence"
Courtesy of Lisa Tomasetti

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at