International Gala

Playhouse Theatre (Queensland Ballet)


Queensland Ballets International Gala brings a cosmopolitan delight to an audience disposed to think global, act local. Overseas artists such as Alen Bottani and Lisa-Maree Cullum of the Bayerisches Staatsballett of Munich and Verginie Martinat and Medhi Walerski of the Nederlands Dans Theater give us a glimpse of the cutting edge of excellence in European dance, while local artists of the Queensland Ballet, such as the magnificent Rachael Walsh, remind us of the exquisite beauty of our local dance scene.

The International Gala involves a series of short pieces as a degustation for the senses. World famous local choreographer Natalie Weir impresses with a strong, stark, innovative piece Ricochet, danced by Richard Causer and Ryan Males of Expressions Dance Company. It is good to see this artistic engagement between the Queensland Ballet and Expressions. This can only be good for local dance culture.

One particularly engaging offering was Erdbeermund (Strawberry Lips) choreographed by Mario Schrer to the poem Strawberry Lips after Francs Villon with the following words read aloud by voice-over artist Steven Grives:

At night the trees lingered about in the woods, grey and sick
because the day had drained in the meadows
But you, you tore off your clothes
and lit your white light for me, gloaming woman
with root hair and animal face
And my eyes always become wide and pure
when the white moon rises in the wood….
You, You,
I am so wild for your strawberry lips.

The dancers of the Queensland Ballet led by Teri Crilly give a fierce, sensual and very wet performance of this work, immersing their hair in large bowls of water and flipping their locks upwards to spray glistening droplets in a dazzling array about the stage.

By contrast, a dark and restrained piece Pas de deux from Toss of a Dice danced by the Dutch duo Verginie Martinat and Medi Walerski pushes the barriers of meaning in modern dance. The solo piece Consider the Raven danced by Daryl Brandwood of the West Australian Ballet is powerful and engaging.

Artistic Director Francois Klaus choreographed the prelude and finale, tying together the various themes of this spectacular gala.

Dance is indeed the international language of humankind. Such events as this gala reassure one that Queensland is contributing to the kinetic poetry of that universal language.

Choreography by Francois Klaus, Natalie Weir and others.

Music by Frederic Chopin, Sergei Rachimaninov, Dirk Haubrich and others.

Playing 7th to 9th August 2009

Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes (including 20 minute interval)

— Matt Foley
(Performance seen: Fri 7th August 2009)