jmb Posted April 26, 2018 Share Posted April 26, 2018 Murphy. The Murphy in question is Graeme Murphy, who, together with his wife and creative associate, Janet Vernon, is perhaps the most influential Australian choreographer of the last 50 years. This production is a celebration of those 50 years, 31 of which saw him leading what became the Sydney Dance Company and establishing its presence as an internationally respected contemporary dance company. No evening can pay adequate respect to all aspects of Murphy's career, so Murphy focuses on extracts (mainly) from works originally created on/for the SDC, together with his full length Firebird, created in 2009 for the Australian Ballet. Extracts from well-known narrative works, such as Swan Lake and Nutcracker -The Story of Clara, being part of the current repertoire, are not included. Of the five extracts, or rather four extracts and one full length ballet which made up the first part of the program, I most enjoyed Air and Other Invisible Forces, which showed influences, particularly in the positioning of hands and feet, from the classical dance traditions of Thailand and Cambodia. Also Sheherazade, a beautifully sensuous ballet showing Murphy's interest in integrating dance and music on stage. Mezzo Soprano Victoria Lambourne sang Ravel's score on stage. For me, Firebird was the standout of the evening. While Murphy remained faithful to the original arc of the narrative, the action was entirely reconceived. On a stage dominated by a huge broken egg, Kostchei, in the form of a snake, and wonderfully danced by Brett Chynoweth, emerges from another half shell. Lana Jones was an unforgettable firebird, fierce, afraid, avenging. The narrative unfolds as it did in Fokine's original, the Tsarevich liberating the Tsarevna and her companions with the help of the Firebird. Kostchei is not however, completely defated, and as all are celebrating their rebirth, he shoots out from the broken egg, offering the Tsarevna an apple. Murphy's signature moves, his use of interesting lifts and unusual (for ballet) combinations of dancers made the evening, for me as a comparatively new ballet-watcher, an unforgettable one. 5 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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