(Queensland Ballet)

What a joy it is to see the great Rachael Walsh, prima ballerina assoluta, dance again on stage! Her artistic brilliance continues to illuminate our world.

She leads a distinguished cast of retired dancers lured back to dance again (or as the French say, ‘encore’).

The audience on opening night gave a rousing standing ovation to this innovative production.

It is good to see the Queensland Ballet celebrate some of the stars of yesteryear and to highlight their ongoing artistry. One thus should not expect the grand jete but do expect to rejoice in the subtlety of movement and  meaning.

The production includes videoed interviews with dancers who have largely finished the performance stage of their careers. Interestingly, a number of the dancers referred to the discipline of dance and the beneficial effect thereof on their lives and careers. It is refreshing to hear acclaimed artists speak of the value of discipline. Dancer Paul Boyd spoke of the discipline of the dance studio as an antidote to the bullying he faced as a young male devoted to dance.

The first work is Apartness and Callosity danced by Wendy McPhee and Riannon McLean who also did the choreography along with Richard Causer. The two women dance largely apart from each other on separate parts of the stage but complement each other’s movements.

After interval we are treated to the Butterfly Effect choreographed by Rani Luther and danced by Justine Summers, Paul Boyd, Rachael Walsh and Camilo Ramos. This work rests on ‘the notion that the world is deeply interconnected, such that one small occurrence can influence  a much larger complex system’.

Paul Boyd adds a comic influence to the performance, well appreciated by the audience.

Rachael Walsh dances a pas de deux with Boyd then later with Camilo Ramos. She dances with  vigour and elegance – to take one’s breath away. Your reviewer well recalls the performances of a younger Rachael Walsh a quarter-century ago. Her dancing remains exquisite, captivating, sublime. Just to see her walk across the stage  in the opening scene is a case study in grace and beauty.

Alas, this production is only over three days, so hasten or sadly miss out.

Queensland Ballet
Talbot Theatre, Thomas Dixon Centre
Performances: 10 to 12 November 2022
Running time: 95 mins (including a 20 min interval)

— Matt Foley
(Performance seen: Thu 10th November 2022)

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