Allegro inspires with its eclectic five-ballet programme
From Balanchine's neo-classical Allegro Brillante, with swirls of retro mint and soft apricot tulle for the girls and pearly grey tights for the boys, to the stupendous, almost stupefying, finale of Larry Keigwin's Megalopolis, all edgy black lycra and diamante dazzle, the Royal New Zealand Ballet's programme of Five Short Ballets is stylish, sexy, sophisticated - and awe-inspiring.
The elegant and pointe-perfect Gillian Murphy, dashingly partnered by Kohei Iwamoto, sets the highest of standards for technique and artistic finesse in the Balanchine piece. The eight supporting dancers do not look far behind and Alayna Ng, in particular, shines.
Johan Kobborg's Les Lutins, still in classical mode, cavorts and struts its sweetly saucy stuff to the live virtuoso violin of Benjamin Baker and Michael Pansters on piano.
The phenomenal Lucy Green adds a comic genius for flirtatious fun to her burgeoning list of talents in the first trio, with a dynamic Rory Fairweather-Neylan and lithe Arata Miyagawa as her pugilistic beaus.
King-hit of the evening comes in Daniel Belton's new commission Satellites, a spiralling, silvery, cosmic exposition on deep space and our tracked orbit through it. A kinetic sculpture by Jim Murphy, motion graphics by Jac Grenfell, and Jan-Bas Bollen's electronic soundscape create a mind-blowing multidimensional environment for Belton's striking choreography for 16 dancers. White-out costuming is by Donnine Harrison.
Satellites is stunning. Let's hope Belton has more opportunities in the "real" world, to match his international successes in dance film, concept and design.
The rest of the evening belongs to contemporary American choreographer Larry Keigwin, first with his Mattress Suite, for four dancers and a mattress, which explores a variety of possible - and impossible - relationships to an impressively diverse musical accompaniment. Watch out for the "mature themes".
Then "formalism meets club culture" in his Megalopolis, an extraordinary and intensely physical take on human society's anthill-like aspects, with music by Steve Reich and MIA.
Movements are strangely clipped and ritualistic, but also explosive. The choreography offers an impossibly ordered complexity, the pace is relentless.
The power of the piece is reflected in an audience too stunned for a long moment to respond.
When we do it is not just for Keigwin but for the whole evening, a brilliant programme and a dance company in full and fantastic flight.
What: Allegro: Five Short Ballets, Royal New Zealand Ballet
Where and when: Aotea Centre, until Saturday