Russian Ballet, with an Australian Accent

By Taylor, Christie | Dance Magazine, October 2001 | Go to article overview

Russian Ballet, with an Australian Accent


Taylor, Christie, Dance Magazine


RUSSIAN BALLET, WITH AN
AUSTRALIAN ACCENT

WEST AUSTRALIAN BALLET
HIS MAJESTY'S THEATRE
PERTH, AUSTRALIA
JUNE 6, 2001

It would be easy for the West Australian Ballet to be lax in its repertoire and technique. Located in arguably the most remote city in the world, the Perth-based classical ballet company is one of two on the Australian continent. But the West Australian Ballet's isolation and Artistic Director Ted Brandsen's vision have served the company well since his arrival there two years ago. On the June 6 program of "Russian Romance," the Dutch-born Brandsen's world premiere of Pulcinella was undeniably Australian in its boldness and class.

The only thing Russian about this Pulcinella was its Stravinsky score. White-faced dancers entered the stage looking like space-age fairies. Their wonderful Judy Jetson-style white tutus, designed by Francois-Noel Cherpin, complemented the men's costumes, which looked like body-sized white vinyl boots, laced up the torso. The ballet's movement was easy and fluid, with hints of nineteenth-century puppetry creeping into lifts, fast-moving group patterns, and playful duets. Daryl Brandwood as Pulcinella was the kind of puppet one hopes will come to life--easygoing, fun to watch, and full of surprises. One moment, his limbs hung droopily; another, he supported a confident Nicola Wade as Pimpinella. When the group came together in the latter sections of the ballet, the movement swirled so much that the lyrical interchanges and whispery lifts were over before one realized what had just happened.

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