This year for its annual contemporary programme, the Australian Ballet hasn’t pulled any punches, offering a trio of works that push this company’s dancers to the furthest reaches of their abilities. From the brooding existentialism of Jiří Kylián to the razor-edged defiance of William Forsythe and the bright, polished optimism of Christopher Wheeldon, this triple bill of modern masterpieces traverses an ambitiously broad emotional and aesthetic spectrum. Equally assured is how this company has made this repertoire its own, and if there were moments where the refined, disciplined rigour of the Australian Ballet’s dancers imposed some less than authentic accents on this programme, the technical sophistication on offer was nonetheless impressive.
Set to Benjamin Britten’s hauntingly wrought Sinfonia da Requiem, Kylián’s Forgotten Landis a work of astonishingly direct pathos. Celebrating its 30th year in the Australian Ballet’s repertoire, it’s a piece that this company knows well and the level of artistic empathy this close acquaintance offers is extremely rewarding for the audience.
Amber Scott, Lana Jones and Vivienne Wong in Forgotten Land (photo: Jeff Busby)
While not specifically narrative, Kylián is a master...