Symphony in C

TAB Symphony in C From Silence featuring Amanda McGuigan and Christopher Rodgers-Wilson - photo by Daniel BoudBringing together great works from the past century to showcase the vigour of modern ballet, The Australian Ballet presents Symphony in C at Arts Centre Melbourne from 24 August 2017.

Following a rapturously received season in Sydney, Symphony in C pairs a tutu spectacular by pioneering choreographer George Balanchine with a selection of perfectly contained shorter works, including two Melbourne debut works by dancers of The Australian Ballet.

The ballet that gives this season its name, Symphony in C is a tribute to the golden era of classical dance. The work runs the gamut of balletic expression, from explosive leaps and quick footwork to a swooning pas de deux with captivating bends and balances.

Although Symphony in C is grounded in Balanchine’s classical training in Imperial Russia, shades of his years on Broadway emerge in a culminating display of pure white tutus. The work is set to Georges Bizet’s eponymous score, written in 1855 when the composer was just 17 years old and living as a student in Paris. The elaborate group work of Balanchine is perfectly complemented by a series of shorter works, each with their own unique modern energy.

Making their Melbourne mainstage debuts are two new works by dancers Richard House and Alice Topp. After making their names as choreographers in The Australian Ballet’s new work series Bodytorque, the pair debuted their first mainstage shows in the Sydney season of Symphony in C in 2016, garnering popular and critical acclaim.

House’s From Silence opens with the striking tableau of a dancer in a ruby red dress that flows for metres across the stage. With dreamlike set and costume designs by Kat Chan, this work for four dancers movingly explores youthful love and loss, accompanied by cinematic music by Michael Nyman.

House has had three previous works included in The Australian Ballet’s Bodytorque seasons, and his passion for choreography dates back to his years at The Australian Ballet School, where he was awarded the Graeme Murphy Award for Excellence in Contemporary Dance.

Topp’s Little Atlas sees three dancers in sleek black performing a closely entangled pas de trois, in an exploration of the human ability to recreate and unmake memories. They are accompanied by the soft piano music of Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi.

Topp’s previous choreographic works include four pieces for Bodytorque, and music videos for artists including Megan Washington and Ben Folds. She received an Australian Dance Award nomination for her 2015 work Same Vein.

Symphony in C
State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 24 August – 2 September 2017

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Image: Richard House’s From Silence featuring Amanda McGuigan and Christopher Rodgers-Wilson – photo by Daniel Boud