Maggie Tonkin checks out ADT Youth Ensemble's final performance for 2019.
This year’s final performance by ADT’s Youth Ensemble showcased eleven talented young dancers performing works by local choreographers, as well as an excerpt from Garry Stewart’s Birdbrain. The program featured four solo works, three made by independent choreographers, and one choreographed and performed by one of the ensemble. The latter, Liam Herron’s daudalogn (Icelandic for ‘Dead Calm’), was a quirky work that featured excellent use of tension and release in the torso; the former all showcased the technical strengths and expressiveness of the dancers nicely.
A bigger test, however, was presented by the four ensemble works: with only a weekly rehearsal, these demanded fast learning and real commitment. Lewis Majors’ Quilty, made for an exhibition by artist Ben Quilty, was a highlight, making terrific use of diagonals and wave formations.
The biggest test of all came from an excerpt from Stewart’s Birdbrain, a fast-paced deconstruction of Swan Lake that relies on both a strong classical technique and the ability to skew it. The dancers did brilliantly here, performing with attack, athleticism and precision.
Now in its sixth year of operation, ADT's Youth Ensemble provides training and performance opportunities for Adelaide’s aspiring contemporary dancers. Guided by ADT’s Associate Director, Sarah-Jane Howard, the ensemble has mentored over 80 young dancers since 2013. In addition to continuing their training at private dance schools, the dancers do class at ADT weekly, where they are taught by company dancers, learn company repertoire and also get to work with independent choreographers on developing new works. To date performance opportunities have included public performances at the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Closing Ceremony of Panpapanpalya Joint Dance Congress, Adelaide Fringe Parade, ADT’s annual "Rough Draft" as well as curtain raiser performances before ADT’s main stage seasons. Past alumni have been accepted into prestigious dance courses including WAAPA and the New Zealand School of Dance.
Admission into the ensemble is by audition: the next audition will be held on 23 January, 2020, at ADT’s Norwood studio. Contact ADT for more info.
- Maggie Tonkin