Freelance writer – creative – media-maker
Melbourne Ballet Company: Project Five – Believe 27th-31st May
Melbourne Ballet Company’s fifth project, Believe, was the latest in a series of productions representing the company’s “re-launch” in 2007. Featuring three pieces from resident choreographer Simon Hoy and one from dancer/choreographer Sharon Fernandez, Believe highlighted the grand scale of the emerging company’s accomplishments, as well as its challenges.
Hoy’s Submerged and Placement demonstrated an open and inventive use of the classical ballet vocabulary. Many choreographers before Hoy have attempted, with various measures of success, to capture the middle ground between classical ballet and contemporary dance. What allows Hoy to succeed where others have failed is his apparent commitment to form, beauty and physicality.
In Submerged, Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings was coupled effectively with motivic gestures and phrases. The choreography worked best with the music when at its most simplistic, as it did in Placement. Infinite Space, the most intimate of the three, was for this reason the most successful, and ending the piece with an acknowledgement of the audience was a stroke of genius from Hoy that was audibly appreciated. Dancer Rani Luther proved to be the evening’s standout performer, a powerful technician and a charming, dynamic interpreter.
Sharon Fernandez’s Wall 2 Wall, inspired by the current economic recession was the most ambitious piece featured in MBC’s programme. Overall, the piece suffered from a lack of cohesion, the splicing of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with commercial music highlighting a general sense of stylistic incongruence within the piece. However, Christopher Favarolo’s solo deserves special mention, showcasing the dancer’s interpretive maturity and quiet strength.
Logistically, there were several areas that required attention. For instance, the lack of rehearsal time for the dancers, a mere three weeks, meant that choreographic sequences were not always as polished as they should have been. Regardless, Melbourne Ballet Company clearly has all the talent and commitment required to overcome these challenges for future programmes and is definitely a company to watch in the coming years.
Reviewer: Grace Edwards