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REVIEW: The Australian Ballet's VERVE - Dress Rehearsal

 Lara Franzi

The Australian Ballet's VERVE - Dress Rehearsal
Reviewed by Lara Franzi

The Australian Ballet presents a contrasting compilation of three uniquely striking performances. Verve is vigour, spirit and enthusiasm; Constant Variants, Aurum, and Filigree and Shadow. Between these three distinctly different dances we are circulated through the most extreme and subtle emotional ventures. Invited by Playwave's newest partners, The Friends of the Australian Ballet, I was given the exclusive opportunity to watch their intimate dress rehearsals.

I was easily caught by the shared feeling of support that slowly crept up on me; it dragged me through each performance and bared me to the different circumstances where you need this reassurance. These Australian choreographers bring their passion onto the stage, staying true to the meaning of Verve, as each performance is an enriched experience of complete fascination.


Choreographer Stephen Baynes sweeps the audience away into a romantic world of youthful spirit as part of the gentle Constant Variants. It’s beautifully joined by an orchestra that swells with the dancers to share that blissfully hopeful sensation of love and innocence. Baynes’ performance is subtly driven by the dancers through their lingering touches and gentle reassurances.

Alice Topp’s performance Aurum is torn with a wild passion, a haunting portrayal of broken spirits. I was so captured by the weight that moved the dancers, it mirrors the tragedy and insanity that ties itself closely with fractured individuals. Topp perfectly portrayed this feeling on stage, especially with the company of an orchestra that just leaves you breathless. Topp pries apart our scars, and fills us with gold, leaving us feeling special for the unique pattern our wounds leave over our souls. 


Tipping the night over the edge, Tim Harbour’s Filigree and Shadow screams without remorse into our most desolate feelings. It shouts that idea of fight of flight, ripping out our survival instincts in a cloud of dancers swept up in a moment of panic. The music is sharp and cutting, a perfect collaboration with the defiant dancing that pushes and pulls you to feel moved. It takes you a step out of your comfort zone, as you find yourself clinging to the dances that lead you to a new world.


Verve brings these contemporary performances together, seeking out our primal instinct and letting our emotions come to the surface. The need of support is embedded throughout the night, sharing the importance of looking out for one another. Seeing the dress rehearsal allowed me to gain greater depth into the hard work and details each moment is crafted with; the incredible support from and by the entire crew and dancers for each other, cheering on their shows and bringing the meanings of these passionate pieces together.

The Australian Ballet's VERVE is showing at the Sydney Opera House until Thursday 25 April. 

The Australian Ballet's VERVE - Dress Rehearsal
Sydney Opera House
4 April 2019

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