Review | West Australian Ballet brings four unique works to the Quarry

In-Synch: Ballet at the Quarry | Quarry Amphitheatre | til 2nd Mar | ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 

As the title suggests, West Australian Ballet (WAB) brings together four independent works: X-It, The Sofa, In-Synch, and Reincarnation; each embracing unique concepts.

X-It, from Finnish, Joanna Nuutinen, captures audience attention with a confronting and unanticipated opening. A video projection of a stark, seemingly public shower scene is portrayed. But, what comes next is choreography brilliance, as a juxtaposition reality between digital and live performance mystifies and transcends the usual boundaries of the stage. Without spoiling it, three distinct scenes reveal a consistent unvarnished disturbing reality. This is in complete contrast to the cheerful work next in the sequence; by far the most entertaining. From Israeli, Itzik Galili, The Sofa, is a returning sassy, upbeat work where laughing out loud can’t be helped. Its impressiveness stems from the spirited music and tricky choreography, but to be honest, it’s the animated facial expressions of the dancers that makes it so amusing. Well this, and the timeless human subject matter we grapple with on a daily basis: love, lust, sex, and rejection. Its relatability and humorous nature make it a worthy all-time favourite.

The final two are world premieres, and offer a divergence in tone. One, In-Synch (from WAB), adds a bold new element of audience participation. An enlarged graphic depicts the real-time event, as voters cast their choice of soundtrack through text, then watch as the improvisation comes to life. This exceptional and challenging work could easily be fraught, but it can attribute success to the clearly apparent chemistry between dancers. It makes for a truly stunning performance. In contrast, Reincarnation (a collaboration between WAB and Co3), offers a more contemporary dance interspersed with classical ballet. This final work is necessary as it provides the most elaborate narrative and costumes of the evening.

A finale needs a climax, and the contrasting colours and sparkling helmets in Reincarnation achieves just that. It offers a vibrant end, to the somewhat preordained doomed beginning; complete with modest, genderless neutral fitted costumes. Actually, synchronisation between the flavour of costume and representing concepts adds to the show’s success. Yet, it is the powerful delivery that steels the show. Such intensity and commitment exuberated from dancers only enhances during group performances, where genuine connections are apparent between the dancers themselves. As they assume genderless roles, dancers produce seamless truly remarkable movements that bring this show to life. By far, the shows best quality. Also, while lighting and sound fluctuate with the changing works, it is the unsuspecting elements that add an extravagance to the night. The sophisticated show lasting for over 2 hours is phenomenal, breathtaking and includes a hint of surprise.

On a final note, the open sky amphitheatre allows early attendees to sneak a peek at the robust dancers warming up on stage. Lounging on cushions, while sipping champagne (or wine) and feasting on a gourmet picnic, this is an event not to be missed! But, an experienced word of warning; have a hair clip at the ready to save the constant swiping from your face, as the wind picks up.

A truly spectacular event at the Perth Festival.

Ballet at the Quarry runs until Saturday 2nd March. For tickets and more information head to

Melanie Williams

Tags: ,