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Circle Electric (Lake) / Études (Lander) - Australian Ballet, Sydney Opera House, May 2024

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Oh my God. I agree with every word that evil Sydney Morning Herald body-shamer said, except for the comments on the dancers' bodies


Circle Electric features a large white neon circle. Original, eh? It also features sun-worship in the style of Kylián's Sinfonietta, over and over and over again. There are arms making shapes. There are faces making faces. There are people jumping. People running. All to the most appalling noise. Come back Wayne McGregor's horrible noise, all is forgiven!


The whole company was on stage, and I feel this was the big mistake. Stephanie Lake is simply not accustomed to working with large groups of people. The seed work for Circle Electric was a chamber work for six dancers. I didn't like it, but it worked. I believe she was done a disservice by the company.


At interval it was really interesting hearing other theatre-goers discuss the piece. The under-30s seemed to have loved it almost universally, the rest of us not


The second half was balm and bliss for this poor ballet-lover's bruised soul.


The company last performed Études in 2012, and looks even better in it now.


We were treated to crystalline footwork.


We were treated to all work intended to be performed in unison being performed in unison.


We were treated to Benedicte Bemet, half an hour after the shite she'd had to do in the Lake piece, revelling in the pure classical idiom.


We were treated to Brett Chynoweth and Marcus Morelli, well-matched in height, technique and speed, turning and jumping with precision and style. Morelli's pirouettes à la seconde were my favourite kind - on a dime.


We were treated to Mason Lovegrove as a deceptively youthful and unobtrusive pas de deux partner.


We were treated to a corps, both female and male, that knew what it was doing and did it well.


Thank you!



PS: I cannot seem to see a Tags field?

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The company response to concerns around the weight of dancers appears to be: "How dare you body shame them!"


I think it would have been better for the company to simply talk about what they have done to actively promote athleticism & more diverse body shapes, compated to years gone by. Saying that people should not comment seems to shut down important conversations and protects management more than dancers.


There ARE still problems.  I appreciate how Steven McRae continues to point this out.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Vanartus said:

Oh dear! Mind you sometimes these extreme split taste(s) evenings can work…as long as there’s a large enough group of likers to balance it out.


The stalls in the Joan Sutherland Theatre were barely two-thirds full. The circle had noticeably empty swathes of seats in the front (expensive) half, yet they showed up as sold on the booking plan.


It has been a hard sell precisely because the two halves are so different. Kunstkamer sold much better, but the whole evening was one work.


@DD Driver AusBallet is indeed trying to make it clear that they are promoting and encouraging healthy eating and healthy body images. IIRC Hallberg himself has had body image issues.


Edited by Sophoife
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I do wonder if, in between classical shows which appeal to the core audience, there is a place for more gala-style performances.

If the goal is to increase sales & broaden the audience, then a showcase of the 'best of' ballet seems a logical way to attract those who are already ballet-lovers & to also provide a compelling, entry-level show for newbies.

I don't think most new contemporary ballet works can achieve this (?) 

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