REVIEW: Daniil Simkin, guest artist in 'Harlequinade'

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Daniil Simkin as Harlequin in 'Harlequinade'. Photo by Doug Gifford, courtesy American Ballet Theatre.
Daniil Simkin as Harlequin in 'Harlequinade'. Photo by Doug Gifford, courtesy American Ballet Theatre.

Australian Ballet

State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne

Reviewed June 23 (guest artist cast)


Daniil Simkin's extraordinary technique has made him an international star – analysed at length on YouTube, celebrated for his astonishing jumps (such as the spectacular jete dubbed "the 540" because of the distance the leg describes through the air), his multiple pirouettes and triple saute basques. All this was on thrilling display when he appeared as a guest artist in the Australian Ballet's Harlequinade, as well as his neatness, perfect placement, and the apparent ease and lightness with which he launches himself into everything.


Just as admirable, however, was his finesse. Simkin is small and finely built, which suits the part of the impish Harlequin. He brought this pantomime character to life, embodying the stylised positions without turning them to caricature, breathing his infatuation with Columbine into every move, and finishing every tiny detail through to the tips of his fingers. His character wears a face mask for the entire role, yet his feelings were made clear through the expressiveness of his dancing. My only small quibble is that the diamond-patterned tights sometimes obscured the lines of his legs.


He was ably matched in comic charm by the cast this night: Jarryd Madden, as the feeble Pierrot, Steven Heathcote, as the old fool Cassandre, Amy Harris as the porcelain Pierrett and Sharni Spencer as Columbine, who was promoted to principal dancer following her performance on the following Saturday night.


Simkin is performing as a guest artist at the BIG gala in Brisbane in August, where he will perform his famous Le Bourgeois solo. Don't miss the chance to see this wonderful dancer. 


See review of opening night here.


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