Review by Yasmin Elahi
Queensland Ballet Academy hosted their annual summer ‘Soiree’ this past weekend. Students from the Academy assembled to present a showcase of work that tied in with various artworks from the Philip Bacon Galleries. The Talbot Theatre was the perfect venue for the event, boasting a large and deep stage from which the dancers shone.
Joining the performers was Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra who provided the live accompaniment, as well as Katie Stenzel providing vocals for a few of the numbers.
Lighting design by Cameron Goerg was powerful, complementing the choreography of the numbers and ensuring the dancers were well lit so their craft could be appreciated. The ultra-reflective stage in Act One enabled the paintings, projected on the back wall, to be reflected on the floor of the stage, immersing the dancers in their grandeur.
Costume design by Kathryn Lee was skilful. The rooster costume and tie costumes were creative, fit perfectly with the artwork and flowed with the dancers’ movement. All the costumes in House of Divine Decadence were showstopping and brought a grand spectacle feel to the number.
The first number ‘Being Beauteous’ was choreographed by Natalie Weir. This piece consisted of several ‘scenes’ all centred around the theme of beauty, identity and perfectionism. ‘Forever’ was a wonderfully imaginative number. The use of fabric to symbolise the rooster’s tail and the choreography surrounding this was captivating to watch. The father-daughter pas de deux in ‘Mum’s Wedding Dress’ was heartfelt and the shedding of costumes in ‘Milano Interior, Monetti Emporium, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got’ was symbolic and a powerful way to end the first Act.
Act Two began with a bang. The protracted dance sequence ‘House of Divine Decadence’ was everything it promised to be. The use of mirrors, ornate set pieces and extravagant costumes conjured up a carnival feel. The storyline woven through the piece was sinister, captivating and served as a metaphor for the dangers of vanity. Rachmaninoff’s music perfectly complemented Paul Boyd’s choreography, handled skilfully by the performers.
Following this, there was a short show hold while the stage was reset. Two student works followed, choreographed and performed by students of the academy. These pieces were contemporary and inspired once again by paintings. Again, these works were symbolic and held deeper meaningful messages about the current state of the world.
To conclude the showcase, the curtain was brought in once again. When it reopened, students from the top seven Academy levels filled the stage in the ‘Academy Defile’, a tightly choreographed parade celebration. Set to music by Tchaikovsky, this was a rousing end to the showcase.
Overall, Queensland Ballet Academy’s ‘Soiree’ was a captivating and entertaining evening, displaying the talented future of ballet dancers in Queensland.