Bodytorque.technique: 19th-century dance meets 21st-century imagination
Discover the choreographic stars of tomorrow when The Australian Ballet’s Bodytorque program returns to unleash the country’s next generation of talent.
After a break in 2012, the ninth instalment of Bodytorque opens on 31 October at Sydney Theatre for five exclusive shows only.
Designed to push the art form further into the 21st-century, this year’s instalment explores the theme of technique and how it can be used to give new life to classical ballet, in a work that uses no more than five dancers and is between 10 and 15 minutes long.
Six emerging choreographers have been given the opportunity of a lifetime to creatively collaborate with artists of The Australian Ballet in this boundary-pushing program.
Bodytorque.technique will see Principal Artist Ty King-Wall make his choreographic debut, while Corps de Ballet member Alice Topp will make her third Bodytorque work.
Joining them will be former Principal Artist Joshua Consandine, making his first work, as well as Coryphée Halaina Hills, Corps de Ballet member Richard House, and former Corps de Ballet member turned freelance dancer Benjamin Stuart-Carberry.
The Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, David McAllister, says this year’s theme returns the Bodytorque program to its original intention.
“Bodytorque was created to find fresh choreographic talent who could develop new and intelligent works. Working with the theme “technique”, the choreographers have really had to focus on reinvigorating the classical form and creating something innovative,” said McAllister.
Meet the 2013 Bodytorque set
Former Principal Artist of The Australian Ballet Joshua Consandine considers the dancer’s never-ending quest to accomplish perfect ballet technique in his work In-Finite.
Set to a series of Vivaldi concertos, the work focuses on five dancers who portray the multiple personality traits of one character, working together towards a common, finite goal.
Following a ten-year career with The Australian Ballet, Joshua joined Sydney Dance Company before graduating from NIDA’s post-graduate movement course. He currently works in the theatre industry and is the head of classical ballet vocational training at SCEGGS Redlands Ballet and Dance Company.
Halaina examines the three-fold relationship between the music of Stravinsky’s Octet for Wind Instruments, movement and the written technique of dance notation in her first choreographic work. She explores specific aspects of dance techniques to complement the style, rhythm and mood of Stravinsky’s composition.
Born in Sydney, Halaina graduated from The Australian Ballet School before joining The Australian Ballet in 2007. Promoted to the rank of coryphée in 2011, she is known for her analytical mind and extensive knowledge of music. She is also studying a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication.
Finding the Calm is a piece exploring the nature of euphoria and the constant searching we do through life to experience the completeness that euphoric feelings bring.
Using dance technique as a catalyst to express this heightened state of happiness, Richard’s piece is also an expression of the euphoric feelings that can be experienced through movement.
Could classical ballet technique be used as a lethal martial art? This is the question Ty will answer in his choreographic debut, a piece that explores the relationship between conflict and dance.
Inspired by the Brazilian martial art Capoeira, which uses dance to disguise deadly fighting techniques, The Art of War presents ballet in the same light – while also observing aspects of chivalry, the futility of war and its inevitably tragic consequences.
New Zealand-born Ty joined The Australian Ballet in 2006 after graduating dux with honours from The Australian Ballet School the previous year. He has danced numerous principal roles, and is the youngest principal artist of The Australian Ballet, following his promotion in April this year.
Polymorphia is Ben’s first choreographic work. Since making the move into freelancing this year, Ben has worked with the Chicago-based Lucky Plush Productions, former Paris Opera Ballet star Sylvie Guillem and Deakin University’s Motion.Lab, amongst others.
Focusing on the Bodytorque aim to “reinvigorate the classical technique”, Ben has picked opposing movement concepts to study the symmetrical and asymmetrical balances at play in the body.
Two dancers perform a series of meditative vignettes, restricted to their respective movements, before a whirling finish that sees them liberated from the restriction.
Following rave reviews for her Bodytorque works Trace (2010) and Scope (2011), Alice explores whether technique divides, defines or refines dancers in her third choreographic outing, Tinted Windows.
With a view that dancers are too often divided into two categories – those who are technicians and can leap higher, turn faster and perform trademark tricks with precision, and those who are artists and great storytellers who can bring the house to tears – Alice will examine whether technique can also mask emotion.
Born and raised in Bendigo, Alice joined The Australian Ballet in 2007 following two-and-a-half years with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Her passion for dance-making resulted in a nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography at the 2011 Australian Dance Awards.
Sydney (5 performances)
31 October – 3 November
Sydney Theatre at Walsh Bay
Online or 1300 369 741