Matej Perunicic and Nikki Blain in Candice Adea's work p as part of Genesis 2019. Photo by Sergey Pevnev
Dance, News, Performing arts, Reviews

Style in the studio

Review: West Australian Ballet, “Genesis” ·
West Australian Ballet Centre, 27 June ·
Review by Nina Levy ·

Comprised of eight short pieces, West Australian Ballet’s 2019 “Genesis” program is relatively short and pleasingly snappy. Presented annually, the formula of dancer-choreographed works performed in the company’s own studio concludes with a small twist in this iteration; the final work, Presley Suite, is by WAB’s ballet master, Craig Lord-Sole… but more about that later.

It must be said that I am a huge fan of the “Genesis” season. There’s a physicality we witness watching dancers in a studio setting that is lost in the context of a theatre. The proximity amplifies the experience, whether it’s the athleticism of Matthew Lehmann’s Fermi Paradox, the sensuality of Sara Ouwendyk’s Simul Perfectus, the clean and graceful lines of Claire Voss’s Beyond what really matters… Ode to Marie Jeanne and Kirsty Clarke’s when the bough breaks or the moodiness of Jack Whiter’s Prelude.

As choreographer Candice Adea remarked in the Q&A that followed opening night, there’s also something invigorating about seeing the dancers take on styles, shapes and lines beyond the company’s usual repertoire. Adea herself reveals a quirky sense of humour in her work p; interspersing an otherwise serious work with a hunched and undulating trio, and a lilting, limping one-pointe-shoe-one-pump interlude.

The comic highlight (and an audience favourite on opening night) is Adam Alzaim’s Cha cha cha du loup, a duet performed with crisp attack and irrepressible charm by Melissa Boniface and Alzaim himself.

And then there is Craig Lord-Sole’s Presley Suite, a tender love story framed by rock ‘n’ roll. Though I’ve seen male duos aplenty, I can’t recall ever having seen one about a couple. It was moving and refreshing to finally see a same-sex relationship take centre stage.

Whether you’re a long term ballet fan, new to the form, or in between, I highly recommend snaffling a ticket to this studio season.

“Genesis” runs until July 6.

Pictured top are Matej Perunicic and Nikki Blain in Candice Adea’s ‘p’. Photo: Sergey Pevnev.

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