Western Australian State Theater Center
Reviewed June 24
The opening night of “STATE” marked the start of an exciting new era for the West Australian Ballet, one that will see the company explore ambitious choreography in an annual season of contemporary works at the State Theater Center of Western Australia . From tobacco-darkened bistros full of cartoon cartoons to the dystopian realm between the living and the dead, each work in this fascinating triple bill immerses audiences in otherworldly realities.
The hilarious absurdity of company dancer Adam Alzaim GAINSBOURG turned out to be an audience favorite from the start and was particularly impressive given that this is the emerging choreographer’s first work for the main stage. The delicious eccentricity of the texts of the French musician Serge Gainsbourg is perfectly embodied by the gestural movements of Alzaim; punchy and tight, sassy and silly. The work includes a series of colorful character vignettes, choreographed to a selection of sultry hit songs by Gainsbourg and drawing inspiration from the “often obscene double meaning” of his music, as described in the program notes.
In the title role, suave and panther, Juan Carlos Osma commanded the scene with ease and led the set of 12 revelers, dressed elegantly in androgynous costumes designed by Alzaim. The opening night cast delivered a courageous and engaged performance, the meticulous precision of the dancers matched by their charisma, with the striking neon lighting of Damien Cooper walking through the revelry of the smoky basement bar.
Satire and frivolity quickly gave way to dark and supernatural forces in Slow to haunt by independent Javano-Australian choreographer Melanie Lane. Unlike the warm invitations offered by GAINSBOURGthe humor of, this work seemed alienating and monotonous at times – but maybe that was the point of this fantastic horror fantasy. Menacingly masked in black veils, a Giselle-inspired army of undead spirits strut through the mist, echoing the ghosts of folklore that Lane identified in the storytelling of various cultures. These amorous corpses have blood on their hands; dangerously vengeful, ready to seduce and destroy with the same cruelty as those who broke their hearts. Possessed by the electronic soundscape of composer Christopher Clark, the menacing bodies deftly oscillate between fluid ballet movements and short abrupt leaps. With her fluid movement and beautiful lines, Dayana Hardy Acuña was exceptional as she made her way through fluid elevators and seamless partnership.
Under the black veils, skeleton-patterned form-fitting unitards by designer Akira Isogawa are a work of art in themselves, later adorned with aristocratic jewelry of skulls and bones. The dancers posed long still moments on the front of the stage, allowing time to fully appreciate the gothic details of the costumes.
WA Ballet dancers took on the challenge of winding acclaimed Australian choreographer Graeme Murphy Air forces and other invisible forces, originally created over 20 years ago. Contemplating the intangible powers that entangle humanity and rule the universe, this work is shrouded in sorrow and hope, in the same way that Murphy’s choreography feels shrouded in the dramatic and evocative composition of 1989 Giya Kancheli. , Cried by the wind.
Gérard Manion’s scenography is breathtaking; an expansive white sheet evokes an omnipresent being that swells and transforms throughout the 45-minute extract. A black spherical orb rolls and slides across the fabric, reminiscent of a clairvoyant’s magical 8-ball. This poignant symbol, together with the repeated circular motions and the reappearance of certain figures, suggest that time is not linear in the universe of this work. A feast for the eyes came in the mirrored trios, with Kristin Barwick and Nikki Blain expertly moving through breathtaking elevators in precise synchronization, their floating costumes suspended in the air.
Bridging the gap between Australia’s contemporary and classical dance communities opens up exciting possibilities for the future of ballet, revitalizing the classical form by initiating innovations. With truly captivating sets and costumes bringing the production to life, “STATE” is a staple.
– ISABELLE LECLEZIO
‘STATE’ is valid until July 3. More info here.