The Four Temperaments is a demanding work from choreographer Balanchine that reflects four distinct humours: Melancholic, Sanguinic, Phlegmatic, and Choleric. The stage is uncluttered as the dancers clad in black and white embark on moves that decry classical ballet convention. Versatility of the dancer, particularly the male dancers come to the fore in this piece as they dance with knees turned inwards and with lunging movements from the hips. It is an impulsive piece played out to a score by Paul Hindemith that is dominated by the piano.
Bella Figura, choreographed by Ji?Ū KyliŠn (1995), is the star of this triple bill with its dramatic style and stunning costumes. Both men and women at one point wear layered red long skirts blending male and female together. The music too is less pared back than The Four Temperaments featuring Vivaldi and Torelli. The dreamlike piece is full of fun and vibrancy, but ends with a beautiful still silence.
Dyad 1929 is the final piece of the night, choreographed by Wayne McGregor in 2009 to pay homage to the Ballet Russes. The backdrop is a dramatic white with black spots; the addition of neon lighting gives the piece an edge of modernity. The dancers are in black and white, but the entire piece has an experimental feel, in line with the ground breaking Ballet Russes.
Vanguard gives the audience an interesting, eclectic mix of contemporary ballet. It is Bella Figura that shines for its vivacity and beauty.
Vanguard is currently playing at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House.
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