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Review | Ballet at the Quarry sets the 'Platinum' standard

Platinum: Ballet at the Quarry | Quarry Amphitheatre | til Mar 6 | ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 

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The warm buzz of the Quarry Amphitheatre was a welcome sound for the 70th Anniversary year of the West Australian Ballet. With the pop of champagne, laughter in the air, and the anticipation of another Perth Festival staple; Platinum began with the ceremony of a cool summers breeze.

Broken up into four bite-sized pieces, the night began with the critically acclaimed Brazilian-British choreographer, Daniela Cardim’s Reset, a work inspired by the composer Gabriel Prokofiev. This contemporary piece was fused with Cardim’s abstract choreography and Prokofiev’s classically electronic music, which created a unique experience to start the evening. A technicolour summer nights dream, the performance was full of physical staccato movements and chaotic romance – and yet, was all interconnected.

The story held a dystopian element, that went from Suspiria cello, to Blade Runner electronica – proving once again that the WA Ballet plays to the classical and avant-garde seamlessly with each new Australian Premiere.

Returning to the stage was Matthew Lehmann’s Truth, featuring music by Ludovico Einaudi, with company dancer Ludovico Di Ubaldo taking up a strong and fluid lead performance. Partnered with Nikki Blain, their chemistry was as palpable as their movements. Lehmann kept the piece at a similar length to its time in Genesis 2021 but breathed new dynamics into the space it took up. The intensity of Einaudi’s score builds, and with it does the emotions of the audience, as they follow a journey of truth.

After interval, the stage is graced by the emboldened women of Concerto Impertinente!

With a slightly delayed premiere, the performance was worth the wait. Featuring the combine choreographic talents of Nikki Blain, Chihiro Nomura, Kiki Saito, and Claire Voss – West Australian Ballet’s Sandy Delasalle aids these talented dancers with interweaving their works into one mastery – with glitz, glam, and grace.

Concerto Impertinente! comes from the Italian “impertinent concert”, and heralds women crossing boundaries to live unapologetically in an elegant display of modern feminism. This piece is a neo-classical favourite, highlighting the German composer, Felix Mendelssohn, with complimentary minimalist choreography, and costuming that unites the performers with pride, boldness, and gravitas.

Closing the night, with its Australian premiere, is Robert Bondara’s Take Me With You. This work featured themes behind reflecting our existence, and our efforts to grasp meaning in life, despite our bittersweet distractions. Utilising carefully curated tracks from Radiohead, the performance quickly becomes the pièce de résistance to a magical evening at the Quarry. Chemistry, strength, and grace that is held between Ludovico Di Ubaldo and Alexa Tuzil is mirrored by Matthew Lehmann and Dayana Hardy Acuña, as they command the stage – and the quick movements of the whole company as they burst into a canon of energy, passion, and aspirations.

One aspect of the choreography felt like a fourth-wall break, as Julio Blanes began to applaud an empty stage. As he turned to the audience, and Dayana joined him as part of a transition, the action galvanised the audience to applaud in time, allowing them to self-integrate within the work, resulting in laughter and emersion. Perhaps unexpected, or skilfully orchestrated, Take Me With You became the house favourite.

Platinum: Ballet at the Quarry was celebrated, not only for being the West Australian Ballet’s 70th year and the country’s oldest Ballet Company – but for being part of a 30-year tradition at Perth Festival. Not only was Platinum the WA Ballet standard, but it was West Australia’s standard for artistic practice in our industry.

Ballet at the Quarry will be held at Quarry Amphitheatre until Sunday March 6. For tickets and more information, head to waballet.com.au

Joshua Hall Haines is an arts and entertainment writer with two BAs in Media & Communications and Arts Management from WAAPA. Joshua has worked in the film and television space as a producer and production designer — but always circles back to writing, having self-published a queer mystery novella in 2018. Joshua also freelances as a publicist, copywriter, and publisher. More of his work can be found @joshlhaines on Instagram.

Image: Bradbury Photography


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