Presented by: The Royal New Zealand Ballet
Opera House, 16th Aug 2019
Reviewed by: Leah Maclean
The Royal New Zealand Ballet's Bold Moves is a mixed bill featuring four works that have transcended the realms of classical and contemporary ballet.
George Balanchine's Serenade is a treat for ballet lovers and romantics alike. To Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, a cast of waiflike female dancers in pale blue tulle float exquisitely across the stage. Their straight lines and long limbs create beautiful shapes and convey a gorgeous unspoken emotion. Nadia Yanowsky steals the show with intense strength and well-refined technique. The piece ends with a dancer raised above the rest, bathed in a divine glow; an image resounding with remarkable grace.
Mayu Tanigaito and Laurynas Vėjalis electrify the stage in Vasily Vainonen's Flames of Paris. The pair alight the stage with incredible chemistry and exceptional discipline. Tanigaito is always a delight to watch with her charismatic stage presence, but it is Vėjalis who really flourishes on stage with his extraordinary elevation and immeasurable control. The audience is left breathless.
Andrea Schermoly's Stand to Reason was originally commissioned for the company's 2018 suffrage programme, Strength & Grace. Inspired by an 1888 pamphlet outlining the reasons why women should vote, Stand to Reason features eight women moving in unison with emphasis on arm movements and body percussion. There is a deep-set power in this work and the women perform with conviction and alacrity. The choreography is poignant and compelling; it couldn't be executed by a more determined cast of dancers.
William Forsythe's Artifact II explores the more contemporary capabilities of ballet. With an exposed backstage there is an effective depth and reality in the performance. Clad in yellow leotards the dancers form various geometric patterns and play with imitation. Every so often the curtain falls and lifts again to reveal the dancers in a new configuration. Artifact is a clever ode to ballet and George Balanchine, which the dancers attack with assurance and modernist flair.
Bold Moves proved to be an excellent evening of dance and successfully exhibited the versatility of our national ballet company.