• James Vu Anh Pham in Lauren Langlois's 'Nether'.
    James Vu Anh Pham in Lauren Langlois's 'Nether'.

What were the critics' favourite shows this year? Which dancers stood out?

Every year we survey dance critics from around Australia to find out the answers to these questions and you can read the 2018 survey in the February/March issue of Dance Australia. To whet your appetite, we have Susan Bendall's response to the survey... the first of 15!

Highlight of the year
William Forsythe’s A Quiet Evening of Dance as part of the 2018 Melbourne Festival. A witty and intensely beautiful ode to ballet; it’s physical poetry contracts and expands meaning and movement.
An unexpected highlight was The Australian Ballet’s Giselle. The characterisations were wonderfully nuanced, bringing so much dimension and believability to the old favourite.

Most interesting Australian independent group or artist
M&T in Motion. My first exposure to this group led by former Royal Ballet dancer Mara Galeazzi and Australian Tim Podesta was their “Forte” program which comprised first rate choreographic creation with stunning dancing.

Most interesting Australian group or artist
Stephanie Lake Company. The work ranges expansively and always contains surprises, inventiveness and remarkable artists.

Dancenorth. Experimental and endlessly ingenious.

Most outstanding choreography
Alice Topp for Aurum, in The Australian Ballet’s “Verve” program.
Lauren Langlois in collaboration with James Vu Anh Pham for Nether (Chunky Move’s “Next Move”). A stunning and meticulous artwork.
Independent artist Victoria Chiu and Angela Liong (Arts Fission) for Fire Monkey. The work combines site specificity and live music with a grand choreographic architecture designed to be viewed from multiple perspectives.

Best new work
Common Ground, by Anouk van Dijk (Chunky Move). A beautiful, affecting and elegant use of bodies, full of effortless contrasts between feats of physical power and vulnerability and tenderness.
Liam Scarlett’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (Queensland Ballet). Pure magical delight and
perfectly cast.
Nether, by Lauren Langlois (Chunky Move). A highly polished work which builds a consistent and sustained movement vocabulary that is compressed and economical.

Most outstanding dancer
Lauren Langlois and James Vu Anh Pham in Nether. Both are outstanding dancers and together in this work they are spectacular.
Kevin Jackson and Robyn Hendricks in Spartacus (Australian Ballet).

Dancer to watch
It will be interesting to follow James Vu Anh Pham as he joins acclaimed Akram Khan Company in London.

I missed out on La Scala!

Encore please!
Australia is producing first rate, compelling dancers and choreographers. Keep it coming!

Read all 15 critics' responses in the February/March issue of Dance Australia. Look out for Dance Australia at your favourite retail outlet, or buy it online here... OR never miss an issue by subscribing here.

Pictured top is James Vu Anh Pham in Lauren Langlois 'Nether'.

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