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Three New Ballets - Australian Ballet in Melbourne

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My third visit to live ballet on Saturday was great. David McAllister commissioned ballets from the following choreographers:

Stephen Payne, using Richard Mills' Symphony of Nocturnes ,created Night Path an exploration of subconscious fears emotions and dreams which was exciting and moodily eerie.

Nicolo Fonte, using Ross Edwards' music, made a vivacious explosive sort of exploration of quote" I took the idea of a journey and interpreted it as an abstract manifestation of our shared human longing for transformation." This one was called The Possibility Space.

And the one I enjoyed most, Semele was choreographed by Matjash Mrozewski music by Gerard Brophy.

The designers in order were Michael Pearce, Marcus Pysall and Adam Gardnir. The sets were simple but great, using silk drapes and lights.

Now, the reason I enjoyed Semele most is that it had a narrative. I know this is rather oldfashioned of me but it gave me a focus which allowed me to resonate to things i know about classical mythology and human relations which added a vast hinterland of my own experience. I find that with abstract ballets there are too many responses that can be made to what i'm seeing and i get a bit lost.

Anyway , the story of Semele is that Jupiter is in love with her and Juno jealously destroys Semele by telling her to ask Jupiter to reveal himself in his godlike glory which he does, and Semele is scorched to death. The dancing was sublime and sexy, the costumes and props were simple and jupiters power was revealed by a huge orange cloak fanned by a strange wind machine sculpture .The cloak became a third partner in the dance.

The dancers were impressive - Madeleine Eastoe, Lana Jones and Rachel Rawlins among them.Also Adam Thurlow and Kevin Jackson. And as the costumes were often quite skimpy I saw how dancers are definitely elite athletes. Lighting from the side, shewed every muscle in their thighs in a way hidden by white stockings. Very powerful indeed.

As for my experience, I bought real tickets at $80 , and had the time of my life 5 rows from the front. The extra cost is worth it. Also I was amazed by how many people were at the matinee. Not just grey haired affionados, but heaps of 20 - 40 somethings and a smattering of 8 - 12 year olds, although they too like a narrative and were a bit non plussed by the abstract ballets and the very sensual Semele. Next stop " Manon".

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I notice in Links for August 31 that the reviewer of Interplay says exactly the opposite from me about the role of narrative and abstraction.

Do people respond to narrative when they are new to ballet and maybe develop a taste for abstraction as they grow more competent at responding. ( I love Balanchine for the precision, but he is a special case)

Or are there two kinds of people in the world - Those who love narrative and those who dont.

(Or as I think Robert Morley said - there are two kinds of people in the world - Those who say there are two kinds of people in the world and those who dont)

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