Ballet BC

Dates and Venue at 6 - 8 November 2014, 8pm | Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Choreography Jacopo Godani (AURA), Fernando Hernando Magadan (White Act), Lesley Telford (An Instant)

Reviewer John Jane

Ballet BC open their new season with a trio of distinctly different dance works integrated in the same programme collectively titled No.29. The title is really a business milestone rather than any artistic attribute, referring to the company’s twenty-ninth year in operation. Coincidentally, White Act, the second piece to be performed, marks the twenty-ninth original work under the artistic leadership of Emily Molnar.

The first piece is a reprisal of AURA (Anarchist Unit Related to Art), choreographed by Jacopo Godani and performed to a circular industrial score by Ulrich Müller and Siegfried Rössert. For dancers, it’s a challenging complex work that follows few if any standard conventions. Godani’s harsh lighting complements the dramatic effects of the intense choreography, while his stunning costumes indulge an androgynous look.

In stark contrast, Fernando Hernando Magadan’s non-linear, romantic reverie White Act offers up classical vocabulary inspired by August Bournonville’s La Sylphide. Seen for the first time in public, White Act is choreographed for a large group. Female dancers glide gracefully across the stage en pointe, while male dancers display fierce athleticism.

Performed to Franz Schubert’s Death of a Maiden, the choreography simultaneously looks forward and backward in time; mesmerising the audience with the ethereal beauty of classic dance and flawlessly passionate pas de deux by principal dancers Christoph Von Riedemann and Kirsten Wicklund.

Lesley Telford’s An Instant, performed to minimalist composer Michael Gordon’s dark repetitive score Weather, was the most evocative work in the programme. Telford’s sensuous choreography runs the entire gamut of technical difficulty. The dance syntax constantly challenges the audience to interpret the dance’s narrative. The work is inspired by Wislawa Szymborska’s poem “Could Have” actually heard during the performance in Amos Ben Tal’s voice-over.

Initially, the dancers barely seem to be moving, but then suddenly explode into dynamic movement. In that instant, conformity evaporates, giving way to exciting chaos.

Not surprisingly, Telford’s work has a distinctive international flair. James Proudfoot’s intelligent lighting and Kate Burrows handsome clothing provided the work with breadth and depth.

© 2014 John Jane