With age comes wisdom
"Wayne McGregor has demonstrated how much of a waste it can be for mature artists simply to be put out to pasture as non-dancing kings, queens, eccentrics and crones.” – Judith Mackrell, 2015
In late June the Royal Ballet flew into the Queensland Performing Arts Centre on a red carpet of expectation and flew out with a critically acclaimed salute. They brought with them a program full of originality and risk (Wayne McGregor’s Woolf Works and Christopher Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale). They also bought their stars and a winning ingredient missing from dancers in most ballet companies at present: age. Alessandra Ferri, who opened McGregor’s Woolf Works as the central characters, Virginia Woolf and Mrs Dalloway, is 54 years old, her alternate cast, Mara Galeazzi, 44. Edward Watson, the wounded soldier, is 40. Federico Bonelli, 39. Gary Avis, 47. Movement was designed around their mature joints, but they were dancing, not just filling the stage with hand gestures and cocked eyebrows. Ferri’s trademark legs and feet were still there (en pointe), as were her dramatic stage eyes, which carried emotion past the balcony’s top tier. I thought no dancer looked old. Indeed, the cast’s appropriate age spread gave weight and believability to characterisations; a trait not synonymous with ballet. So why has age, on dance’s stage, not been encouraged? . . .
This is the beginning of an article by Matthew Lawrence in the current (Oct/Nov) issue of Dance Australia. Want to read the whole, thought-provoking article? Don’t miss out! Buy the new issue at your favourite magazine retailer or subscribe here, or purchase an online copy via the Dance Australia app.