Imagine the delight of being part of a ballet rehearsal and performance face to face with the dancers! That is the magic of Queensland Ballet’s Vis-a-Vis Studio series based at the QB’s home, the Thomas Dixon Centre at West End. Never has an old shoe factory been put to such good use!
You enter the studio right next to the dancers stretching and warming up at the bar. No, you have not walked in the wrong way. This is part of welcoming you into the dancers’ space as they prepare for performance and explication. Soon artistic director Francois Klaus emerges to guide you through the craft and art of dance.
The audience is seated on tiered chairs quite close to the dancers. The theme is “timing is everything” and dancers illustrate the graceful difficulty of slow movement and the intensity of pace.
An excerpt from “The Little Mermaid” brings the exquisite dance of Rachael Walsh into a scene involving a pas de deux between a fisherman and his wife to the haunting music of Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor. Without the usual assistance of props and lighting the power of dance takes the audience into the transit world between sea and land a place where the beautiful mermaid can walk only with great pain.
By contrast Irving Berlin’s “Putting on the Ritz” gives all the dancers a chance to boogie with flair. This passage from “Fonteyn Remembered” is a lively reminder of the youth and vigour of the company.
As a study in timing, comedy can be a hard gig; yet Teri Crilly shows her comic genius with Nathan Scicluna in a tango scene from “Cloudland”. This tribute to the dance heritage of Brisbane is a reminder that choreography and creativity is about now and here not just yesterday and far away.
The evening sizzles to an end as Clare Morehen dances Bizet’s “Carmen” with a strong performance from Yu Hui as the toreador Escamillo. Love and death provide a tragic and dramatic climax to the evening.
This opportunity is not to be missed. It is an enthralling experience for all ages but would be especially rich for a young person training in ballet.
Choreography and Direction by Francois Klaus
Music by Josef Haydn, Edvard Grieg, Robert Davidson, David Raskin and Johnny Mercer, Jean Sibelius, Erich, and Georges Bizet
Piano accompanists: Brian Adamson, Shirley Coe and Gary Dionysius
Costume Design by Noelene Hill
Running time: 2 hours with a 20 minute interval
Performances 29,30 April, 5,6,7,10,13,14 May, 7.30pm; 7 May 2.00pm