Chroma, the latest production by The Australian Ballet, is a bold performance that oozes confidence, aggression, sex and beauty. Incorporating the talents of choreographer Wayne McGregor with Joby Talbot’s musical score (including his interpretation of songs by rock legends The White Stripes), the production is riveting from start to finish.
The vibrant dancing pulses energy and is at times breathtaking. The dancers themselves, who are all of exceptional calibre, perform physically challenging feats; twisting, turning and seamlessly maneuvering their bodies in ways that just seem impossible.
Take ‘Petite Mort’, a phrase that translates to ‘small death’ but it also used in French and Arabic as a paraphrase for orgasm. It’s a highly sexual and at times aggressive performance exploring the relationship between brutality and chance in a world where nothing is sacred. ‘Sechs Tanze’ is also entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, yet at the same time, through the flawless dance movements and music by Mozart, is a profound piece that highlights the need to be aware of our own relative values.
Given the explosive energy of Chroma, ‘Art To Sky’, set to a Tchaikovsky piece written to commemorate the centenary of the first performance of Don Giovanni, lacks impact somewhat. Although choreographer Stephen Baynes demonstrates his wicked sense of humour in his exploration of the mating ritual, it just seems slightly restrained in comparison to the rest of the production.
But combining the imaginations of its talented choreographers, as well as the beauty of the music and the fearless and striking dance performances, Chroma overhauls the traditional boundaries associated with ballet and delivers a show that both surprises and excites.
Chroma is showing at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, until May 18. Image by Jess Bialek.