Choreographers Tim Harbour, Robert Curran, Tim Riley, & Lucas Jervies. Photo: Louisville Ballet
A review by Valerie Canon
Entire contents are copyright © 2020 by Valerie Canon. All rights reserved
- 1. Australia and New Zealand (used by inhabitants of the northern hemisphere).
“There were plants from the Antipodes, including eucalyptuses and acacias”
Louisville Ballet’s Antipodes was a triple bill of world premiers by Australian choreographers (hence the title). This was one of the most enjoyable nights of theater to be had in Louisville this year. All three works were brilliant and captivating, yet so unique in their own ways. Here’s the breakdown:
Tonal – choreography by Daniel Riley
“From a pinprick in the distance arrives a behemoth, that leaves behind, a glimmer.” This is a quote from the choreographer who went on to describe the work as being themed around the world always being in constant motion, growing, adapting, and changing. The curtain opened to a stage set with a grouping of dancers upstage right and a large rectangle hanging above the stage covered in a fabric that diffused the stage lights creating a visual atmosphere that takes your breath away. The dancers were dressed in oversized jackets and loose-legged pants in umber gradient neutral colors and orange dance socks. The music gave the impression of wind and muted city traffic. The piece had a dystopian feeling as though it was almost trying to create a story similar to that in George Orwell’s 1984. The dancers moved in synchronized slow motion until one “broke free” and that started a cannon of dancers escaping from the conformity. This started a series of brief solos, which eventually shifted into the entire ensemble running in a circle around the stage while a red light pulsed. The circle tightened and the group shifted back into slow motion with the exception of a few dancers lifted onto shoulders. These dancers looked up at the rectangle hanging above the stage almost as though they could see outside their enclosure for the first time. The piece ebbs and flows like this until the dancers shed their jackets on the stage as they exited. This piece is a stunning piece of choreography because the mind is constantly thinking and moving along with the dancers. It was truly captivating work.
Odyssey – choreography by Tim Harbour
Stage lights sat on the floor in a semi-circle and were directed through a haze of smoke on dancers clad in costumes that, as the lights brighten, are revealed as shades of grey and nude. The women’s biketards almost appear “saloon girl” in style with fringe added here and there. The movement in this piece is so fluid and showcased the great skill of soloists Leigh Anne Albrechta, Brandon Ragland, Natalia Ashikhmina, and Mark Krieger. The brilliance of this piece is that we are taken on a masterful journey that is done in such a way that you never want to take your eyes of the stage, but then about three-quarters of the way through the piece, the choreography reverses itself and we are back where we started. It was so well executed that much of the audience probably didn’t even realize it was happening.
15 Minutes of Fame – choreography by Lucas Jervies (Resident Choreographer)
The director’s note states: “a cataclysmic barrage of bodies and ideas wrapped in what may well be the grandest chaos this ballet has yet staged”. One might venture to say the grandest chaos ANY ballet company has ever staged. This was really something new and fresh. The curtain opened during intermission to chairs set around the circumference of the stage. Dancers in various work out attire dotted the stage chatting, sitting, and stretching. A large red countdown clock hung above the stage with the 15:00 in bright red. A single microphone was sitting at the center. There were a hustle and bustle of stagehands setting various props about the stage and two sets of staircases were brought out and set in front of the stage on the audience floor. The multi-talented dancer, Luke Yee, brought out a chair and sat in front of the microphone with a ukulele and attired in a very unique costume. He proceeded to perform “Somewhere over the Rainbow”. Mr. Yee clearly shined as a triple threat at the evening’s performance. There was a solo dancer, Jeremy Hanson, who performed the majority of the dancing throughout the piece. The choreography was a fusion of contemporary, modern, and breakdancing. Mr. Hanson expertly executed the movement and had the audience cheering for him in his “15 minutes of fame”.
This is just a glimpse of the many incredible things that happened during this number, but revealing too many details would give away the brilliance (There were confetti cannons!). Suffice to say, this was masterfully created and performed. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before and it was amazing.
Bravo Louisville Ballet. That was one helluva show.
February 28 & 29, 2020
315 West Broadway
Louisville, KY 40202
Valerie Canon is an actor, director, dancer, model, and choreographer based in the Greater Louisville area. Mrs. Canon received her BFA in ballet performance from Oklahoma University in 2004, and has performed in ballets around the country as a principal, soloist, and corps de ballet member. She is currently co-director of Mind’s Eye Theatre Company.
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