• Level 7 students Milana Gould and Seth Marshall in 'Schubert Dances'.
    Level 7 students Milana Gould and Seth Marshall in 'Schubert Dances'.
  • 'In Memory of the Moment' performed by Level 7.
    'In Memory of the Moment' performed by Level 7.
  • Level 5 students performing 'The Jewellery Box'.
    Level 5 students performing 'The Jewellery Box'.
  • Level 8 student Emmanuelle Fairweather in 'Pas de(s) Fleurs'.
    Level 8 student Emmanuelle Fairweather in 'Pas de(s) Fleurs'.

State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne
September 25

 After two years of Covid interruptions, it is a credit to The Australian Ballet School’s teachers, staff and students – led by Director Lisa Pavane -- that Showcase 2022 is a triumph against many odds.

It is always a privilege to watch young dancers perform, particularly those graduating and about to set forth on their professional dance paths. All of the gifted students on stage showed confident, committed professionalism and unique individual qualities. They displayed versatility and virtuosity, literally did not miss a beat, and were a joy to watch.

Frank Croese, the veteran acclaimed lighting designer and former dancer who is an inaugural Australian Ballet School alumnus from 1964, created glorious imagery throughout. 

Opening the program was Pas De(s) Fleurs to music by Delibes, in excerpts from Le Corsaire Act 3. Beautifully staged by Sabrina Lenzi and Joanne Michel, the work was performed by 16 level 7 and 8 white tutu-clad female students on pointe. This was pure classical dance at its finest, showing style, lovely technique, lyrical port de bras and strong solo work.

Wolfgang Dance was choreographed by Simon Dow and set to music from Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Performed by level 4 and 5 students, the young dancers in 18th century-style white wigs and attire made the most of their opportunities, finding the humour in this popular work with some clever and cheeky references to esteemed classical ballets, and ending on a high with impressive jetés en diagonale across the stage.

Schubert Dances was beautifully choreographed by Stephen Baynes to excerpts from Schubert’s Rosamunde and Symphony No 6 in C major. Danced by over 20 level 7 students, with a lithe, seemingly effortless performance style, great elevation, individual personalities and excellent interaction with each other, this lovely work was engaging throughout.

The Jewellery Box, was choreographed to Max Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy by Paul Knobloch, and featured level 5 students in eye-catching deep-green bejewelled attire and some challenging choreographic moments.

Swan Lake Variations was choreographed by David McAllister to excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s powerful score and was impeccably performed by level 8 students. With a black-clad cast of six female and six male dancers, plus a pas de deux couple in white, their fluid, graceful style in ensemble work, a trio, pas de quatre, pas de deux and solo was underpinned by an assured, rock-solid technique.

 After interval, Teeter, choreographed by Simon Dow, was set to an enthralling, eclectic mix and range of musical styles. Danced by 10 level 8 male students gathered together, wearing black coats and carrying suitcases, the mood seems bleak before the coats are thrown off, and hope and determination prevail. All of the dancers were superb in technically, physically and emotionally demanding choreography, and delivered moving, memorable performances.

In Memory Of A Moment was choreographed by Paul Knobloch to music by Max Richter and Ludovico Einaudi. Clad in eye-catching black and gold, and admirably performed by a large cast of level 7 students, precise, dynamic dance was required. The dancers delivered in spades, sailing through the choreographic challenges in a captivating work in impressive style.

π was choreographed by Lucas Jervies and performed by level 6 students who themselves created most of the sonic accompaniment. Clad in green-toned unitards, the dancers’ intensity was stirring as they clapped, stamped and vocalized rhythmically, gradually and successfully drawing the audience’s rapt attention and admiration.

Closing a wonderful night’s entertainment was El Tango, choreographed by Stephen Baynes for level 8 graduating students and set to a stunning musical mix of Argentinian composers. A social gathering with chairs and tables provided the setting. The large cast, although probably exhausted by this stage, threw themselves into the work with commendable stamina and attack. Delivering flawless performances of the finest quality with slick, subtle, nuanced sophistication, relationships were developed and the joy of dance celebrated.


All photos above by Sergey Konstantinov.

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