A full house for the Melbourne Ballet Company in Sydney although ‘ballet’ took a back seat in the program

The high point of the Melbourne Ballet Company’s triple bill in Sydney was the middle of the middle.

It came in the form of a beautifully choreographed and expressively danced pas de deux in which Kristy Lee Denovan committed to every moment of Architect of Loss, choreographed by Tim Podesta, especially as she leapt into the circled arms of her partner, Robbie Moorcroft.

Architecture of Loss was book-ended by the opener, Lucas Jervies’ Four Ballet, and the closing piece, Simon Hoy’s Dasein.

Although the former Royal Ballet principal, Mara Galeazzi, was the drawcard for the short season at The Concourse in Chatswood, her appearance in Architecture of Loss was relatively brief, but long enough to see the exactitude of her movement, her graceful limbs and arched feet.

Wearing a dark blue dress, with her hair in a ponytail, Galeazzi’s first solo depicted a woman driven by apprehension, tension and loneliness.

I hoped she might dance throughout the piece but she returned only at the end as she appeared to turn out a light (through mime) and lie down on the floor, as if her sadness had ended.

(There’s a reason for the brevity of her performance – see below) *

Architecture of Love is a piece for three women and two men, with Denovan in dark green and Chloe Henderson in red, perhaps representing timidity and anger.

Perhaps, because the program notes were obscure and, apart from Architecture of Loss, both overblown and difficult to read.

(Simplicity and clarity in the program notes of contemporary dance companies have vanished if they ever existed.)

Architecture of Loss is the title of a composition that mixes chamber music with electronics.

Written by the Icelandic composer, Valgeir Sigurosson, it was a work created for dancing, and first performed for the US dance troupe, the Stephen Petronio Company, in 2012.

The problem with the triple bill, however, is that all the works have electronic music and 90 minutes later, the sound becomes repetitive and tiring, especially as the last piece, Dasein, danced to the music of Ólafur Arnalds, another Iceland composer, and the American composer, Ben Prunty, is very loud within the confines of a small theatre such as The Concourse.

Lucas Jervies’ Four Ballet, danced to the score of the Hungarian, Adam Ster, refers to both the number of people in the ballet, of course four, and ‘four’ as a tribute to ballet, an art form he refers to all the way through as the dancers blend disjointed movements with ballet steps, among them fifth positions of the feet and arms, pas de chat and renverse and lots of leg extensions as well.

There’s nothing completely new in that blend but still, Four Ballet was an enjoyable beginning to the bill.

Dasein, though, was an exhausting ending, with its numerous projections that overwhelmed the dancers and its unflattering costumes that resembled active wear.

The busy blink and you miss them images that ranged from clouds to black graphics, to ink blots, did little for the work as a whole.

The season of just three performances drew audiences to The Concourse, and the matinee performance on Sunday looked like a full house with many parents taking their children to see the show.

Considering the popularity of the season the company could consider staging a separate matinee performance of ballet excerpts within their next season.

After all, their name, with the word ‘ballet’ in the title, may have attracted last Sunday afternoon’s young audience who perhaps anticipated more tulle and tutus than electronics and a mostly darkened stage.

Unfortunately there are few images to accompany this post and none are available for either Architecture of Loss or Dasein.

* Tim Podesta has let me know that a guest artist, Joseph Phillips, was unable to perform due to an injury.

He was to perform a pas de deux with Galeazzi and a solo in Architecture of Loss.

The triple bill will be performed at The Cube, Wodonga, on 17, 18 March and at Hawthorn Arts Centre on 30, 31 March

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Four Dance, Melbourne Ballet Company, photo © Ron Fung

Alexander Baden Bryce and Masha Peker, Melbourne Ballet Company, photo ©Taylor-Ferne Morris

Mara Galeazzi in Glen Tetley’s Voluntaries, photo © Bill Cooper

Kristy Lee Denovan, Melbourne Ballet Company, photo © Taylor-Ferne Morris