Presented by The Australian Ballet
Reviewed 27 October 2017
Enthusiasts of all ages are flocking to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre this weekend for The Australian Ballet’s Gala Spectacular. It is an opportunity for the company to show-case their best performers, featuring only “the cream of Australia’s very best dancers”.
Artistic Director David McAllister is to be commended, along with all the choreographers, as each sequence flows beautifully from one to the next. There is also an ideal mixture of ensemble routines and pas de deux style duets. Nicolette Fraillon conducts the masterful Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the event is the venue itself. The Australian Ballet decided against recreating a traditional theatre stage within the Entertainment Centre. Rather, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra performs on a raised platform behind the ballet stage, which is at ground-level. To reach their stage, the dancers must walk past the Orchestra and first rows of the audience. Though at times this distracts from the main stage, it also offers a unique opportunity to watch the orchestra as the music ebbs and flows in perfect time with the choreography.
Highlights include Grand Pas Classique, a duet featuring Lana Jones and Brodie James. The two work perfectly together as James’ graceful bravado compliments Jones’ light and ethereal movements. The Act III Wedding Scene from Don Quixote offers a delightful ensemble sequence and a sea of blue, bejewelled costumes. Suite en Blanc is performed in full and offers multiple performers the chance to shine. Sneak peaks of the 2018 season include duets from the striking and sensual Spartacus, and sweetly romantic Cinderella, in which principal artist Leanne Stojmenov seems barely to brush the floor with her pointed toes.
Without a doubt, excerpts from Act I of The Sleeping Beauty is the piece de resistance. This includes the breathtaking “Garland Waltz” ensemble sequence, performed in a flurry of glittering costumes and flowers. It features Amber Scott as Aurora, and Brett Simon, Ben Davis, Nathan Brook, and Andrew Wright as her Prince suitors.
The performance is overflowing with breathtaking sequences, and truly astonishing moments of graceful athletic prowess. The Australian Ballet will undoubtedly entice their audience back for the upcoming 2018 season with this Gala Spectacular.
Reviewed by Nicola Woolford