Each year the Queensland Ballet reminds us in its International Gala that dance is truly the universal language.
This year was made particularly special as it was the last performance of the great Australian ballet dancer, Lisa Bolte, in her home town of Brisbane.
Local dancers were joined by artists from the Korea National Ballet and from Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Dusseldorf.
The International Gala presented ten short pieces in the space of one fantastic evening.
Queensland Ballet principal dancer, Rachael Walsh, shone in several pieces throughout the evening. Brisbane audiences know the fluid grace of her dance but her versatility shone through with a muscular, staccato performance in a new work “Breath of an Angel” by Korean choreographer, Young Soon Hue. This powerful piece started and finished with figures walking in a stage dramatically illumined by a single orange light.
The Korean dancers, Kim Joo-Won and Jang Un-Kyu, gave a moving rendition of the pas de deux from Giselle Act II. Giselle is the story of the triumph of love over death. The Korean peninsula has seen much death throughout the 20th century. In the 21st century, it is the most likely flash point for the beginning of World War III. This magnificent and graceful performance gave cause to believe that hope and beauty might triumph over the dark side.
It was great to see also a new work, “The Gathering”, by internationally acclaimed Queensland choreographer, Natalie Weir. Zachary Chant and other dancers from the Queensland Ballet gave us an elemental piece with a sense of Middle Eastern cosmology.
Amidst an evening of great beauty, it must be said that this was Lisa Bolte’s night. She danced with Tristan Message of the Australian Ballet, the pas de deux from “At the Edge of Night” to the music of Sergi Rachmaninoff “Preludes, Op. 23, No. 4”. This work demanded great balance and virtuosity. Her expressive performance touched all in the audience.
Later in the evening, Lisa Bolte and Tristan Message danced the pas de deux from Raymonda Act 1 – a sublime performance from the homecoming queen.
The strength and depth of the dancers of the Queensland Ballet made this a night to remember.
Choreography by Stephen Baynes, Young Soon Hue, Francois Klaus, Marius Petipa and Natalie Weir
Playing 3 to 5 August 2007 Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes (including 20 minute interval)