A single illuminated door frame set the stage in the opening moments of the Royal New Zealand Ballet's (RNZB) performance of Black Swan White Swan at Baycourt Theatre in Tauranga.
The modern contemporary twist on re-imagining Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake was simply captivating.
Choreographer Mario Radacovsky's range of dynamic, creative and explosive movements were fast and sharp to watch. A selection of motifs which demonstrated the dancers' abilities and complemented their bodies unfurled in front of us.
Simple, classic and elegant costumes complemented each movement allowing freedom and complete expression to unfold.
The lighting was creative and simple, setting first the romantic scene of the rippling lake and then beneath it in the dark reflective magical underworld.
Soloists Joseph Skelton and Shaun James Kelly strongly opposed each other in the roles of Siegfried and Rothbart. Their performance was further enhanced by the graceful nature of the White Swan, Marie Varlet. The explosive powerful grace of the Black Swan, Mayu Tangigaito, was a standout and upheld her ultimate presence while onstage.
The synchronised expressions, energy and swan-like movements of the corps de ballet white swans were impressive with a number of younger company members stepping up to perform in A Swan Lake For Our Time.
Olivia Moore, originally from Matua in Tauranga, returned home and impressed her local community with her elegant performance.
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Juxtaposed were the modern party scenes, where free, contemporary and often quirky movements glided seamlessly alongside traditional partnering steps like waltz, lifts and contact improvisation.
The helium balloons added height into the frantic dance scenes which were contained cleverly in circles of light. It was hard to watch the soloists at times for fear of missing out on the corps de ballet.
The final battle scene between Siegfried (Skelton) and Rothbart (Kelly) played out in a square of light on the stage. After ripping each other's jackets off continually throughout the performance, this clever use of costume as a prop came to a standstill as a gigantic bucket of water poured down on the stage.
The lead males were knocked out in the sheer force of the water, perhaps returning to the above ground reality and ending up back in the lake. The audience gasped, and then the applause rang out.
After seeing many a traditional performance of Swan Lake I was left in awe of this outstanding remake. RNZB has once again pushed out its creative boundaries proving once again what imagination, talent and hard work can produce.
- Jane Trask is doing work experience with the Rotorua Daily Post