Australian Ballet efficiency of Kunstkamer runs from chaos to breathtaking stillness

Kunstkamer ★★★★
State Theatre, till June 11

Artists of the Australian Ballet in <i>Kunstkamer</i>.

Artists of the Australian Ballet in Kunstkamer.Credit:Jeff Busby

How outstanding that Australian Ballet has chosen to current this shadowy however extravagant commemorative pageant created in 2019 for the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the worldwide modern dance firm Nederlands Dans Theater.

The storied Dutch firm, which is related to the work of choreographer Jiri Kylian, doesn’t have a notably shut reference to Australia. So Kunstkamer, bewildering however thrilling, lands on our shores like an austere monument to an alien tradition.

It’s an expansive program created by 4 choreographers – Paul Lightfoot, Sol Leon, Marco Goecke and Crystal Pite – utilizing three imposing black facades with many entrances and exits. These partitions transfer all through the efficiency, compacting the area or creating gaps.

Out of retirement: Artistic director David Hallberg of the Australian Ballet dances in <i>Kunstkamer</i>.

Out of retirement: Artistic director David Hallberg of the Australian Ballet dances in Kunstkamer.Credit:Jeff Busby

The doorways open and the dancers, nearly 50 of them, pour by, typically costumed in black with gold highlights. Eighteen particular person items have been created, however they’re labored collectively, creating a way of easy unity and aesthetic coherence.

And it has the elegantly gloomy atmosphere for which Nederlands Dans Theater is known. The set, designed by frequent collaborators Lightfoot and Leon, suggests a sombre Dutch baroque church during which solely essentially the most ambiguous revelations are potential.

It is a world populated by clowns, mimes and maniac dolls, with a number of screaming and neurotic vibrating that contrasts with low, flowing motion and explosive lifts and leaps, the dancers transitioning like arcs of thrown water.

Artistic director David Hallberg, in a much-ballyhooed return to the stage, presides over the collective crack-up as a distressed grasp of ceremonies. He mutters cryptic phrases resembling, “They took the theatre away!” and contorts himself in gradual movement.

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