The Australian Ballet
By Dolce Fisher
This year’s theme for Bodytorque was ‘Muses’, a subject interpreted differently by each budding choreographer. The audience was treated to a smorgasbord of different dance styles, with displays of strong classical ballet, modern and contemporary dance.
Tristan and Isolde by Daniel Gaudiello was classic in style. The choreography was very intricate and extremely demanding on the dancers, highlighting their strong technical abilities. Gaudiello definitely gave the audience a glimpse of his vision for the story as a full-length work.
Vivienne Wong gave us Touch Transfer. The work brought Wong’s inspiration of ‘being lost in the stroke of a brush’ to life in movement. A simple, yet defined, choreographic concept, it was a beautiful work. Her thought process involved much more than just the movement. The backdrop contained much detail of the actual choreography. A colour representing each dancer and the pattern of the brush strokes became a painting capturing the shape of the dancers’ movements.
Contour by Lisa Wilson, guest choreographer and current recipient of the Hephzibah Tintner Foundation Choreographic Fellow, showed a defined maturity and was more contemporary in style. Dancer Dana Stephenson stood out in Wilson’s choreography and sat very comfortably in the movement style. The work felt like it needed to be performed in bare feet to really delve into the fluidity of the contemporary movements.
Alice Topp, a company member who is becoming very comfortable with switching hats to choreographer, presented Scope. This work was the highlight of the program, danced by talented Chengwu Guo, Natasha Kusen and Karen Nanasca. The trio was cast perfectly, dancing like they shared a deep understanding of one another. The work incorporated projected pictures of each of the dancers onto three individual cycloramas. With inspiration drawn from a photographic exhibition and the idea of the human body as a vessel for our actual being, the work had a peaceful spirituality about it. Scope was captivating and just beautiful to watch.
Closing the show was a work by Kevin Jackson discussing a relationship between a mother and her son. Expressed through the eyes of a mother as her son comes of age, it was a lovely portrayal of the mother/son relationship. The costuming seemed too minimal and distracting at times. Amy Harris showed immense use of extension with the choreography highlighting her amazing line. At times some movements seemed disconnected to other portions of the choreography and almost out of place, but the piece displayed some lovely partnering work.
Bodytorque is a wonderful environment for these young dancers to explore their creative talent and is nurturing the next generation of choreographers whilst challenging and delighting Sydney audiences every year. If only these new works could tour the country and been seen by other cities.
Photo: Dana Stephensen and Brett Simon. Photo by Paul Empson