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A beginner’s guide to ballet

11 Jun 2015

A beginner’s guide to ballet Image

By Bethany Williams

I don’t really know all that much about ballet.

If you asked me to tell you the difference between a jeté and a plié it’s highly likely you’d be met with a blank stare.

And, if I’m completely honest, my minimal ballet knowledge is based on repeated adolescent viewings of the movie Centre Stage.

So you might think it a little strange that I’m writing this review of The Australian Ballet’s The Dream.

But the thing is, The Dream proved to be the perfect ballet for a first-timer like me – beautiful music, gorgeous costumes, elegant choreography and a bit of humour – what more could you want?

Opening on June 4 at the Arts Centre, the Australian Ballet presented a triple bill of works by choreographer Frederick Ashton.

The performance opened with two works by Ashton, Monotones II, last performed by The Australian Ballet in 1979 and, for the first time, Symphonic Variations.

Audiences were then transported into an enchanted forest in the headline performance, The Dream, Ashton’s take on Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer’s Night Dream.

The ballet sees the romantic fates of humans become intertwined with the world of fairies and sprites.

Chengwu Guo shines as Puck, whose mischief at the bidding of the fairy king, Oberon, wreaks havoc on the love lives of the mortals.

Likewise, Joseph Chapman’s Bottom provides comic relief, when his head is replaced with that of a donkey.

While I can’t say too much for the technical precision of the cast, I can attest that there were plenty of “ooohs” and “aaahs” from audience members sitting near me, suggesting there was plenty to be impressed with from a technical point of view.

And I can certainly say that it all looked pretty damn amazing to me.

The Dream, a triple-bill of works by choreographer Frederick Ashton is playing at the Arts Centre until June 13.

See www.australianballet.com.au

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