Mesmerising is the word that best describes the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s latest production, Allegro: Five Short Ballets.At the opening night performance in Auckland last night (July 30, 2014) the audience could not drag their eyes from the stage, not that they wanted to.The most awe-inspiring of the five short ballets were Megalopolis choreographed by Larry Keigwin.
And Satellites choreographed by Daniel Belton. Both modern and innovative, the RNZB dancers responded with energy, vigor and glorious fluidity to create an incredible fusion of movement with the electronic music, costumes, lighting and staging.
Satellites draws its inspiration in part from the artists of the Bauhaus movement playing with the concepts of abstraction and mechanism in art.
Keigwin’s Megalopolis, described by The New York Times as ‘a divinely well-structured encounter between formalism and club culture’ was performed to Six Marimbas by Steve Reich.
Keigwin also choreographed Matress Suite – a suite of six short dances all taking place on or around a mattress, which was comical as well as passionate and clever, and contained mature themes.
The RNZB is the first company to perform Matress Suite outside of Keigwin’s own Keigwin+Company.
Comedy and skill also came to the fore in Les Lutins – virtuoso dance off. A light hearted game between three dancers and two musicians.
The opener, Allegro Brillante, by George Balanchine was the most traditional of the programme and into which Balanchine packed everything he knows about classical ballet into 13 minutes. First performed by New York City Ballet in 1956, Allergo celebrates the strengths of a prima ballerina as a performer, showing off her technique, speed and energy. In the RNZB’s case the prima ballerina for the job was Gillian Murphy (a principal ballerina with the American Ballet Theatre).