Australia Festival in New York

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John F
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Australia Festival in New York

Post by John F » Sat May 11, 2019 2:53 am

The three Australian companies include the Australian Ballet, in a very different mode from when they toured the US in 1971 with Rudolf Nureyev in standards such as "Don Quixote."

Australia Festival
Dance, Contemporary and experimental
Joyce Theater , Chelsea
Until Sunday May 12 2019

The Joyce gets Down Under with three visiting Australian companies. The contemporary dance troupe Dancenorth (April 29–May 1) performs Attractor, which invites audience members to participate, unrehearsed, in a work that draws from Indonesian traditions. Australian Dance Theatre (May 3–6) returns to the Joyce for the first time in nearly 15 years with The Beginning of Nature. The Australian Ballet (May 9–12) offers a mixed bill of Alice Topp's Aurum, Stephen Baynes's unspoken Dialogues and a new work by resident choreographer Tim Harbour.

https://www.timeout.com/newyork/dance/a ... a-festival
John Francis

Belle
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Re: Australia Festival in New York

Post by Belle » Sat May 11, 2019 6:49 am

Well, I'd be interested to know how that goes; the Australian Ballet is very good, though haven't been to a performance for ages.

John F
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Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Australia Festival in New York

Post by John F » Sat May 11, 2019 9:42 am

I'm afraid the Austrian Ballet's program got rather rough treatment from the NY Times dance critic - not their top man, Alastair Macauley, who's retiring, but someone else I don't know, the author of a book-length history of tap dancing.

Review: Australian Ballet Returns With Homegrown Talent, Humdrum Program
Brian Seibert
May 10, 2019

Consider a duet in which the man alternately drags the woman around and shoves her away, sometimes rolling her recumbent body with his feet, all while she begs for more. Surely, when the Australian Ballet was selecting works for its debut at the Joyce Theater this week, someone considered that such a duet might not be the best repertory choice for the current cultural climate?

Apparently not. When the company returned to New York on Thursday — closing out the Joyce’s Australia Festival — Stephen Baynes’s “Unspoken Dialogues” was at the center of its triple bill.

The duet, made in 2004, is in the familiar can’t-live-together, can’t-live-apart genre. In Alfred Schnittke’s “Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano,” it finds a plausible drama, fluctuating between bursts of passion and retreats to formality, choreographically represented by ballroom decorum. Firmly danced by Kevin Jackson and Jill Ogai, it isn’t a particularly egregious specimen of the manhandling pas de deux — the woman shows a little spine — but its mediocrity almost makes its tone-deaf inclusion more baffling.

Presumably, it’s on the program to represent Mr. Baynes, a former company member and a resident choreographer since 1995. The other two works are also by resident choreographers drawn from the company ranks: Tim Harbour and Alice Topp. Which means the whole show is not just an exhibit of the troupe’s adept and appealing dancers, but also — more fully than in previous visits — a welcome showcase of its homegrown dance makers.

Would that it were less humdrum. Mr. Harbour’s contribution, a world premiere, is set to John Adams’s “The Chairman Dances: Foxtrot for Orchestra.” The costume concept, also by Mr. Harbour, puts the ensemble not in Mao suits (Mr. Adams’s score is related to his “Nixon in China”) but in orange slacks and button-downs and red bow ties, somewhat like old-fashioned filling station attendants.

Skillfully, Mr. Harbour responds to the score’s rhythms and changing moods, pouring out steps and quirky details, yet both the dance and the dancers seem behind the music, rather than on top of it. The cutest image is the final one: the poised and sprightly Robyn Hendricks lounging on a giant recliner formed by the other dancers’ bodies. She rests her feet on the back of a man.

Ms. Topp, as a choreographer, is a woman even more in charge. Still dancing in the company, though not on this program, she became a resident choreographer last year. Her “Aurum” has an elaborate concept based on kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing ceramics by binding the fractures with gold. The scenic effects are nice — a marbled floor-covering peels away to reveal a reflectively metallic one underneath — but more significant is what Ms. Topp calls “discovering beauty in the broken.”

This dance, too, has a can’t-live-together duet, but here the man and woman are equals. Tender vulnerability is expressed less through partnering than through not touching, through each person bending and reaching alone. That’s refreshing, so it’s a pity that the remainder of “Aurum,” right in tune with the insipid Muzak of the Ludovico Einaudi recordings Ms. Topp has chosen, increasingly sinks into sappiness. Instead of a tough guy throwing around a pliable doormat, we get two clingy people. Even when the idea is to gild the cracks, good choreography needs to be made of sturdier stuff.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/10/arts ... eview.html
John Francis

Belle
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Re: Australia Festival in New York

Post by Belle » Sat May 11, 2019 6:24 pm

Thanks for posting this. It seems political correctness is suffused into this review and this doesn't interest me in the least. "The man and woman are equals" - yaaaaaawn.

Naturally our national ballet company cannot compare technically with ABT and NYC Ballet. Those latter I absolutely adore!!

barney
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Australia Festival in New York

Post by barney » Sun May 12, 2019 12:54 pm

A minor memory. My father was assistant conductor when The Australian Ballet toured Canada, the US and South America in 1967.
At the time I was collecting those small books of matches that companies, cafes and tourist places etc used to produce as a means of marketing and promotion. My father mentioned this to the orchestra in passing, and many of them started collecting for me. My father had to buy another suitcase to bring them all home! I've always remembered their generosity.
My sister threw them out some years after I left home.

Belle
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Australia Festival in New York

Post by Belle » Sun May 12, 2019 4:57 pm

barney wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 12:54 pm
A minor memory. My father was assistant conductor when The Australian Ballet toured Canada, the US and South America in 1967.
At the time I was collecting those small books of matches that companies, cafes and tourist places etc used to produce as a means of marketing and promotion. My father mentioned this to the orchestra in passing, and many of them started collecting for me. My father had to buy another suitcase to bring them all home! I've always remembered their generosity.
My sister threw them out some years after I left home.
Lovely anecdote. A matchless performance, then!

maestrob
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Australia Festival in New York

Post by maestrob » Mon May 13, 2019 8:15 am

:lol: :D

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