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Queensland Ballet: Balanchine, McIntyre and Kylian

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I saw Queensland Ballet's Masters Series; Balanchine's Serenade, Kylian's Soldier's Mass and McIntyre's The Shadows Behind Us on consecutive nights last week, each night a similar distance from the stage, but on opposite sides of the theatre. I saw two rather different performances. First off was Serenade, a work that I have seen on Youtube, but never in real life. Superb. Really, different but superb, from both angles. The corps de ballet established a gloriously romantic setting for the action, if that is the right word. Yanela Pinera and Victor Estevez on Friday, followed by Laura Hidalgo and Kohei Iwamoto on Saturday encapsulated beauty and elegance, while Lucy Green, Georgia Swan and Patricio Reve on Friday and Lina Kim, Vanessa Morelli and Dylan Lackey on Saturday represented heartbreak, betrayal and the ballerina's vulnerability. I know this is a long list of utterly unfamiliar names, but these dancers deserve that their  performances be recognised. They were wonderful. 

McIntyre's The Shadows Behind Us was, to my mind, much less successful. Friday night's performance I did not like at all. I was more impressed with the performance on Saturday night, but am not at all sure of the extent to which this was the result of sitting in a different section of the theatre. Trey McIntyre is a freelance choreographer and founder of the Trey McIntyre Project, a full time company based in Boise, Idaho. The Shadows Behind Us consists of 6 (mostly) pas de deux danced to what McIntyre calls pop songs. I am not sure that characterising songs such as 'Sometimes I feel like a motherless child' or 'Our day will come' as pop songs is appropriate,  but the distance between the choreography of Serenade and that of The Shadows Behind Us could scarcely have been greater. The latter featured holds and lifts involving men and women grappling each other and throwing or at times dragging each other across the stage. Hmmmm. 

Finally, I really liked Kylian's Soldier's Mass, different again as it was. Danced by 12 male dancers, it is really unlike any ballet I have previously seen. It celebrates the comradeship and mutual support that develops between young soldiers, and is unrelentingly anti-war. Seemingly simple but actually fiendishly difficult choreography.

Overall, a satisfying evening and I will remember Serenade for a long time to come.

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Oh I would love to see Serenade live again... Australian Ballet hasn't done it since their Balanchine homage programme in 2004 (Serenade, Symphony in C, Agon). 


The Jiří Kylián Soldiers' Mass isn't in AB's rep at all.


Sounds like a wonderful programme, wish QB could tour everything!

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