REVIEW | Identity

TAB Identity Paragon (c) Rainee Lantry


Celebrating the Tapestry of Identity: A Captivating Journey

Reviewed by Brendan Daynes

Identity is a captivating program crafted by two of Australia’s leading choreographers, Daniel Riley and Alice Topp that brings together artists from the Australian Dance Theatre and The Australian Ballet. Comprising two acts, THE HUM and Paragon, this visionary production takes audiences on an unforgettable journey, delving into the essence of who we are and the interconnected threads that shape our individuality.

In the first act, titled THE HUM, Daniel Riley takes the reins, guiding us through a transformative experience that transcends boundaries. The stage comes alive with an electric energy as artists unite in a never-before-seen collaboration between these two renowned Australian dance companies. Riley’s choreography seamlessly weaves together the tangible and invisible connections between performers, musicians, and the pulse of the land itself.

TAB Identity The Hum (c) Rainee Lantry

Riley’s vision is brought to life by a specially commissioned score by celebrated composer Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO. With every note resonating through the theatre, the audience is swept away in a melodic symphony that echoes the shared knowledge, emotion, and energy of the performers. The synergy between the dancers and the orchestra is nothing short of breathtaking, immersing us in a world where movement and music intertwine to create something truly extraordinary.

Continuing the compelling narrative, the program seamlessly transitions into the second act titled “Paragon,” choreographed by Alice Topp. Drawing from The Australian Ballet’s rich 60-year history, Topp masterfully crafts a nostalgic and historical exploration of ballet’s pursuit of perfection and excellence. This stunning performance serves as a reflective prism, showcasing the immense pressure and expectations that accompany the art form while celebrating the collective artistic vibrancy that has shaped Australia’s ballet landscape.

Through a seamless blend of intergenerational company artists, Topp’s choreography embodies beauty, grace, and the rich tapestry of emotions that dance can convey. The stage radiates with beaming energy as the performers embody the essence of each carefully crafted movement, capturing the hearts of the audience.

Identity is more than a mere performance; it serves as a mirror through which we reflect upon our own sense of self and connection to the world around us. The program’s exploration of identity, invites introspection and fosters a sense of empathy and understanding. As we witness the interplay of diverse identities on stage, we are reminded of the power of embracing our differences and finding strength in unity.

TAB Identity The Hum (c) Rainee Lantry

What sets this production apart is its ability to seamlessly merge the artistic visions of two accomplished choreographers into a cohesive whole. Riley and Topp, each with their distinct style and artistic voice, create an artistic tapestry that showcases their brilliance as well as the depth and breadth of the Australian dance scene. The collaborative spirit exhibited speaks volumes about the mutual respect and shared passion that infuses every movement on stage. The commitment and dedication of the production team, dancers, musicians, and composers shine through every aspect, leaving the audience in awe of the sheer artistry on display.

Identity is an unmissable gem within the Australian arts landscape, a testament to the rich cultural fabric of our society. As the final notes of the specially commissioned score fade away, this remarkable production stands as a testament to the power of the arts, the beauty of diversity, and the profound impact of self-expression, beckoning audiences to embrace their own unique identity, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the vibrant tapestry of humanity.

Identity was presented in Melbourne from 16th – 24th June as part of RISING and from 2nd – 20 May at Sydney Opera House. For more information on the production please visit

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