A trilogy of neoclassical delight by Melbourne Ballet Company
Reviewed for DanceLife Australia by Alisha Coon
Melbourne Ballet Company’s latest production Veil of Maya is the first instalment of a trilogy titled Intention and Desire – inspired by Picasso’s masterpiece, Guernica. This program consists of three new works – created by Lucas Jervies, Timothy Podesta and Alexander Baden Bryce. The three new works in the trilogy are a collaboration between MCB, Hawthorn Arts Centre and the Alex Theatre. Veil of Maya has 2 more performances on the 11th & 12th April at The Alex Theatre in Melbourne.
Melbourne Ballet Company’s recent premiere, The Veil of Maya, is a trilogy of pieces that reminded me of the types of work regularly performed in Europe. I feel like I was taken back to Germany for an evening of neoclassical choreography, made even more magical as it was performed in the beautiful, heritage listed Hawthorn Arts Centre.
The evening opened with a dynamic piece by Lucas Jervies, aptly named Four Ballet. The four dancers created a labyrinth of interwoven bodies, performing a mix of intricate arm movements and long classical lines. Jervies did an amazing job of highlighting the dancers’ technical strengths as well as their incredible physiques. He also managed to throw in a cheeky reference to the four cygnets from Swan Lake. The dancers performed the piece with outstanding quality and energy, the highlight being a stunning solo by MCB’s principal dancer Kristy Denovan. Jervies’ experience as an international choreographer is evident in this trilogy, placing Four Ballet a cut above the rest.
As the curtains opened for the second piece, the audience was transported into Artifice by company dancer Alexander Baden Bryce. The draping set, effective back-lighting and emotive music created a serene, almost mystical atmosphere. I have to commend Bryce on his choice of music, as Max Richter and Ludovico Einaudi are two of my favourite composers. Bryce skilfully created a piece full of elegant lines, sultry port de bras and lively classical allegro. Denovan was the stand-out performer once again, her technique and experience saving a few awkward choreographic moments in the pas de deux. The group work in the finale could have been cleaner, but overall Artifice was a thoroughly enjoyable piece.
The final piece of the evening, Variations of Ease, by choreographer Tim Podesta, quite honestly did not put me at ‘ease’. Unfortunately, this piece fell short in both choreography and performance. The dancers either looked a little too ‘at ease’ in the choreographic phrases, or took it to the other extreme by over-emphasising the extremely dramatic music. Podesta gave the dancers some interesting movement phrases to work with, but I feel they could have been developed further to create a more substantial piece of work.
The Veil of Maya was a great evening of dance and a must-see for young dancers who are interested in pursuing a career in dance. Melbourne Ballet Company would be a great stepping stone for young dancers who have finished full-time training. It is also a must-see if you are thinking of working in Europe, as many of the companies over there regularly perform neoclassical works similar to Four Ballet and Artifice.
The Veil of Maya is showing on the 11th & 12th April at the Alex theatre in Melbourne.
Tickets available from The Alex Theatre: www.alextheatrestk.com/whats-on-alex/veil-maya