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Not-so-secret lives of dancers
NYC: The Ballet - Three short ballets from the big apple by RNZB.
As a stunning debut for the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s new Artistic Director, Ethan Stiefel, the company’s production of three short ballets from Stiefel’s former stomping ground, New York City, delighted a packed audience at the Civic tonight.
Pictured left: Megan and Kate at the ballet (photo by Andrea Tandy.) Below: Auckland's historic Civic Theatre.
We began transported to a high society ballroom, filled with the complex piano of Brahms’ 28 Variations on a Theme by Paganini – a glittering, spare, traditional yet modern narrative unfolds as the paired dancers come together, quarrel, part, then kiss and make up. Choreographed by Mr Natalie Portman, the gorgeous Benjamin Millepied, this lovely piece revealed the technical brilliance of the dancers. Gillian Murphy, principal guest dancer, was outstanding in this work – her careful gestures encompassing all that needed to be said.
Below: "28 Variations"
Who knew what to expect from the second piece – described in the programme as “athletic and rigorous.” From the beginning, Larry Keigwin’s Final Dress enthralled: the curtain opened to backstage lay bare, dancers in leotards and/or semi-nude. Drawn into the dancers’ world, this was like an artistic interpretation of The Secret Lives of Dancers: their beauty, grace, strength, and skill up front and central. The audience was delighted – and a standing ovation was well deserved. Lucy Balfour was delightful in her vintage dress from Hunters and Collectors in Cuba St, drawing us in with her smile and those amazing arms.
This was a hard act to follow – and while 'Who Cares?' by the two American greats Balanchine and Gershwin was beautifully executed and again displayed Gillian Murphy’s enormous talent, we kept harking back to the astonishing, moving, sexiness of Final Dress.
With tickets starting from $35, NYC by the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company is essential – for the sheer delight of Final Dress alone.
By Kate Hannah
Photos Megan Robinson
29 February 2012