State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne
June 21, 2018

This year’s contemporary program for the Australian Ballet, Verve, is a triple bill of in-house productions. Two extant works by the company’s resident choreographers – Stephen Baynes and Tim Harbour – bookend a new work by coryphée and fast-rising choreographer Alice Topp. Each creator has made vastly different choices in form, music and design, allowing us to not only see the breadth and versatility of the dancers’ skills, but also experience the broad church that is contemporary ballet.

Verve, Australian Ballet, Aurum Kevin Jackson and Leanne Stojmenov in the Australian Ballet’s  Aurum. Photo Jeff Busby

The premiere of Topp’s Aurumattracted the most buzz on opening night. Taking inspiration from kintsugi – the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics with gold metallic lacquer – the work explores ideas of past trauma and the importance of acknowledging, even honouring, these imperfections. Twelve dancers embody these ruminations through luscious and lyrical choreography, set against Jon Buswell’s stunning design featuring a reflective gold floor and a backlit wall of fractured light.

Music by pianist and minimalist composer Ludovico Einaudi sets the tone of the work, adding great emotional weight with its layered...