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Review- Queensland Ballet’s Raw: an evening to savour and remember

Above:Camilo Ramos and Lina Kim in No Mans Land.

Below: Clare Morehen and Darcy Brazier in Ghost Dances. Photos: David Kelly


Queensland Ballet

Various choreographers

Playhouse Theatre

Queensland Performing Arts Centre

South Bank


Season: March 17-25. Running time: two hours 15 minutes with two 20 minute intervals. Bookings: or 136 246

This trio of short ballets proved that short really can be sweet. They had mood, intriguing (and sometimes difficult) choreography, and some magnificent dancing that included mind- blowing pas de deux.

It was an evening to savour and remember for a long time.

The opening – 45 minutes long – piece was No Man’s Land, Liam Scarlett’s reflection of the heartache of war which was created in 2014 as part of the commemoration of the Centenary of World War 1. It was danced to excerpts from Liszt’s Harmonies Poetiques Et Religieuses, which by the way was played much too loudly, loud enough to hurt the eardrums.

The dance is a poignant, sometimes slow-moving, but often vibrant, ballet that pictured the soldiers at war and yearning for home and the women working in the monotony of munitions factories.

It was moody and magnificent but nothing was more so than the partnership of Lina Kim and Camilo Ramos. It was a staggering performance that had the audience gasping with the lifts and spins and speed of the movement. Lina Kim had complete confidence in her partner and her own performance was simply outstanding. If ever a young dancer was headed for the top echelon it’s this one.

The more experienced Laura Hidalgo too, did some amazing work with Shane Wuerthner and Teri Crilly with Alexander Idaszak completed the trio of soloists’ beautifully.

The set and costumes designed by Jon Bausar and lighting from Paul Keegan added a sombre realism to the dance.

Greg Horsman’s 20 minute three-movement Glass Concerto, inspired by Phillip Glass’s Violin Concert was an example of perpetual movement danced by Laura Hidalgo and Joel Woellner; Neneka Yoshida and Samuel Packer and Mia Heathcote and D’Arcy Brazier.

The style of choreography was different, but equally thrilling with some of the fastest dances you’ll see in classical style ballet. There was also the unusual sight of a focus on the male dancers who had many opportunities to show off their prowess in solos and together.

The sextet interwove, did solos, duets, quartets in constant interchange and again some gasp-making choreography. Laura Hidalgo, right back after the interval showed her fitness and strength with stunning work with Joel Woellner.

Once again brilliant lighting, this time from Cameron Goerg, and costumes by George Wu added an extra dimension to the spectacle. These dancers too earned cheers and “bravos” from an enthusiastic audience.

Finally it was Ghost Dancer, a macabre piece of modern dance by Christopher Bruce that was first performed in 1981 and was last revived by Ballet Rambert in the UK last year.

It is a piece that reflects the horrors on the brutal Pinochet regime coup in Chile in 1973 when thousands of people were murdered or ‘disappeared” during his oppressive rule and was enhanced by atmospheric music from Inti-Illimani’s recordings of South American folk music.

Vito Bernasconi, Jack Lister, and David Power danced the skull-faced zombie-like entities of darkness that harassed, tortured, and killed the innocents.

The choreography was frenetic and fearful, with echoes of voodoo dance and evil and the horrors of the time, with barefoot dancers, was vivid and absorbing

Once again it was beautifully danced and the evocative costumes by Belinda Scarlett and lighting recreated by Cameron Goerg added so much to the production.

This is a program for all ballet lovers.

It was a nostalgic evening for me, watching Principal Dancer Clare Morehen for the final time on stage in Ghost Dancer. I have been a fan of Clare for the past 13 years and will miss her graceful talent now she is moving on.

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