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Flash Review 2, 2-27:
Calm & Collected in Australia
By Simone Clifford
Copyright 2001 Simone Clifford
MELBOURNE -- The calmness
of the Australian Ballet's trilogy program Saturday at the State
Theatre offered unto us so soft a palette of expressive color that
it rendered the emotional memories and the reflective spirit of
the works weak.
The Trilogy Two program
differed significantly from the program promised in the company's
Contemporary Season subscription brochure. Stephen Baynes's "Personal
Best" and Harald Lander's "Etudes" were replaced by Baynes's "Beyond
Bach" and George Balanchine's "Theme and Variations." The one work
that remained from the originally planned program was Jerome Robbins's
Throughout the entire
evening we were besieged with delicate footwork, graceful arms,
arabesques and sensitive partnering, beautiful costumes, set and
lighting, and orchestra. However, each work's understated, discreet
and elegant delivery rising from a similarity of purpose and effect
meant that the evening unfolded its wings upon us in a manner not
That is not to say that
each work on its own does not hold merit, for I believe they do;
referencing when and for whom a dance was created affects our ultimate
determinations of the work. It is interesting to note that "Other
Dances" was choreographed in 1975 for Makarova and Baryshnikov.
We can imagine how these two dancers would have enjoyed the stroll
through technique, passive drama and role-playing. However, the
landscape of this piece might possibly have been served better if
it had been surrounded by work that surrendered greater difference
in rhythm and emotional output. Perhaps this could be said for each
of the works on the trilogy program, for difference highlights and
separates one work from the other.
Indeed this evening was
akin to a gentle stroll in a land of passive beauty, the restrained
delivery of these works meaning that the stage exuded a glacial
quality of refrained emotion and controlled expression. Emotional
substance was present in the work. But while the type of cool delivery
the company chose is relevant and has its place, it was so formal
and even aloof, that the evening lacked warmth.
Generally speaking, the
company looks healthy and at ease with the work. On a special and
individual note, I would like to offer that Simone Goldsmith, due
to her flawless technique, exquisite musicality, line and individuality
while still in the rank of soloist promises a ballerina in waiting.
I look forward to seeing more of her work and to seeing her dance
the bigger roles and become the principal she deserves to be.
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