March 31, 2012

A Great Night at the Ballet! (NYC)

Last Friday night, my wife and I, (yes I’m a bloke) went to the ballet to see the Royal NZ Ballet perform NYC, three short ballets based on as the publicity tells us, The Big Apple, that’s New York for those who don’t know.

They started with “28 variations on a theme” a more traditional ballet on a bare stage with piano accompaniment which to my tender ears was too harsh.  That aside, the dancing was excellent and the dancers received good applause at the conclusion of their performance.

The second was “Final dress” with the dancers in a range of costumes, mainly black - shorts and tops for the girls and longs for the guys -  but occasionally the lead dancers would appear in colourful dresses.  The set was quite different with a whole lot of what appeared to be large aluminium cases stacked across the back creating a backdrop and light / sound standards up each side.  Dancers when not on the floor sat on the cases or stood waiting their turn behind the light / sound standards.

The piece itself was all go from the first beat with some dancers, both male and female running across the stage at speed.  Occasionally a “baddie” in black would appear at pace from one side of the stage and carry off one of the female dancers to the other side, much to the surprise of the audience.  As the piece continued, dancers performed individually and in groups.  The females all had their hair loose and a number used their long locks as part of their dance.  Quite spectacular.

Towards the conclusion of this ballet, there was a number of superbly timed moves with a ballerina running from the back of the stage, being met at the front of the stage by two male performers who had entered from opposite sides, catching the ballerina before too late and towing her off stage.  I’m sure I was not the only one wondering if something went wrong and someone missed their timings!

The audience really enjoyed this item and the dancers received generous applause at the end before the second interval.

The final piece was “Who Cares” with a backdrop image of the New York sky line with much softer music based on the works of George Gershwin, a number of tunes of which I and others, I am sure, would have recognised.   Once again, timing was important because as one piece ended, dancers for the next one had to move on stage and be ready for their particular item.  These were danced in groups, and by individuals.  Different members of the audience had their own favourites.

When this was over, the dancers again received generous applause from a very appreciative audience as it was “a great night at the ballet!”

For more information see the show page on the Royal New Zealand Ballet's website

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