'I think therefore I am.'  Descartes            'I AM THAT I AM.'  Exodus.3.        'I am what I am.'  La Cage aux Folles

27 July 2013


Bangarra Dance Theatre
Friday 26th July The Playhouse QPAC
Last night I was enthralled by Bangarra Dance Theatre and their performance of Blak. Created in three parts that begins 'SCAR' with the 7 male dancers in an urban setting as the young men struggle for identity and then in ÝEARNING' the 7 women explore the hardships of life separated from their culture. As all dancers come together in 'KEEPERS' they  find the comfort of tradition and pride as the evening came to a positive end and exploded in beauty and a crescendo of rock, smoke and the final spectacular curtain of falling sand. A wonderfully brilliant night.
Dancers of amazing energy, strength and beauty stunned the audience. The creativity of combining traditional movement with modern dance and executed by highly trained and exquisite dancers was almost exhausting as we watched such high energy for the non stop 75 minutes. There were moments of great drama and emotion as well as danger and joy. The whole evening was just so sexy you could hardly breathe. People cheered whistled and clapped!
Bangarra is now over 23 years old (formed 1989) and one of the leading dance troupes in Australia. Founded by Artistic Director and Choreographer Stephen Page (below left) and with multi award winning brother David Page (below right) who creates the brilliant music, Bangarra tours nationally and internationally. Stephen was born in 1965 and I first saw him dance in the early 80's with the Sydney Dance Company. The large Page family (12 kids) grew up a few blocks from where I lived as a child. The talented boys have won numerous Awards. I read this great comment in Samesame about a 2009 solo show "In this solo act performance, David Page (with the help of playwright Louis Nowra) does a brilliant job of explaining himself to the uninitiated: he’s an Aboriginal, a homosexual, a singer, dancer, son, brother – and surely the deadliest drag queen this side of Uluru!"

Blak was a co choreographed production between Stephen Page and dancer Daniel Riley McKinly. The music was the work of David Page with the cooperation of electro-pop singer, songwriter, producer etc.Paul Mac. The following night when I went to the brilliant Barefoot Divas and met the awesome Ursula Yovich, she told me David Page had her sing on the soundtrack for Blak. That makes three times I have been inspired by her in the last few months.
Below is guest artist Hunter Page-Lochard who took a central role in several sequences. He is a rising star and has made many film and television appearances including two great films I own - Bran Nue Dae and The Sapphires as well as several roles in Stephen Page's Ballets. David Page has been on my facebook friends list since I saw him in Mother Courage a few months back and within a half hour of arriving home I can now count Hunter as a facebook friend as well. I expect to see his career blossom.
Below is local (Ipswich) dancer and cover boy Leonard Mickelo who is tall, beautiful, elegant and truly stunning to watch.
The evocative and awesome finale.

26 July 2013

Project Rameau

Friday 12th July at The Playhouse QPAC
There are two internationally stunning companies in Australia who are regarded by many as the best in their field. The Australian Chamber Orchestra (founded in 1975) under the direction of the inspiring Richard Tognetti AO since 1989 is often touted as the greatest chamber orchestra in the world. I have been going to their concerts periodically for over two decades. The other great group is the Sydney Dance Company and they have been entertaining me also for several decades. They were formed in 1969 and renamed in 1979 and for so long under the direction of the great dancer and supreme choreographer Graeme Murphy with his outstanding co dancer Janet Vernon both of whom I saw many times. Early stars were people like Paul Mercurio whom I once chatted with at length in the Green Room at the Sydney Opera House when he was just new to the company and also stunning aboriginal star Kim Walker. Stephen Page who went on to found the Bangarra Dance Theatre of indigenous dance I once saw dancing Tadzio with Graeme as Aschenbach in After Venice.
To see both great companies performing together for the first time was a gift seldom seen and truly rewarding.
Today the company is run by the Spanish born Rafael Bonachela and Project Rameau is the first of his works I have seen on stage. The evening was so special and at one time I found the combination of music and dance soi beautiful I cried. 
Of particular import to me were two dancers whom I found captivating. Thomas Bradley who was used for the publicity and whose confidence, style and beauty compelled you to not take your eyes off him when on stage. He possesses true star quality that emanates from his subtle smile, original haircut and amazing elegance and ability. 

The other outstanding dancer of the evening was the very tall and perfect Andrew Crawford who was mesmerising and the flow of rhythm as it ripped along his extended legs and arms to his fingertips was just awesome to behold. Power and sweeping grace that has to be seen to be believed.


La Cenerentola or Goodness Triumphant by Gioachino Rossini
4th and 11th July at the Queensland Conservatorium Theatre.

Lucky enough to be given a ticket to the final Dress Rehearsal (me on TV in photo at right) a week before I was booked to go to an evening performance I was given the chance to see this wonderful production twice. It takes me back to the eighties when I was involved on the peripheries of opera in Queensland and also linked to Opera Australia. I helped entertain singers, threw home parties, arranged opening night parties, did radio shows, wrote articles for newspapers and newsletters arranged concerts and dinners and anything that helped promote Opera. I recall on occasions that although I always bought a season ticket I managed to regularly be given extra tickets by the cast and management or even allowed in by the theatre staff "Are you going in tonight? You might as well". I once saw every single performance of The Barber of Seville one year which was good to compare a change of cast half way through the run.
 Cinderella and the very selfish Sisters who were an absolute hoot with some soaring notes belting out during the ensemble pieces.
The whole production was quite inspired and certainly played for some laughs. Generally the voices were excellent and I was particularly impressed by the Egyptian born Bass Baritone Ashraf Sewailam whose resonant voice and twinkle was a joy to watch and hear. The Don Magnifico of the other Bass Baritone Andrew Collis was pure entertaining theatre. Dandini was played wonderfully by Jason Barry-Smith whom I have had the pleasure of meeting in the foyer in recent times as a fellow audience member Benjamin Britten's Midsummer Nights Dream  and another concert. He also performed in Britten's War Requiem and has the perfect Peter Pears style voice for that. I believe he trained with Pears some tome back. Wondering about the high C's I was quite stunned by the assured and lovely strong high voice of Tenor Virgilio who played Don Ramiro the Prince.
Another Cenerentola
Coincidentally at the same time as I was attending performances of Cinderella here in Brisbane my friend Bogdan Mihai from Romania was performing in the same opera as the Prince in Stuttgart. Here is a great excerpt showing his beautiful and thrilling talent.

09 July 2013


Salon Saturday June 22nd.
The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts
Created and Choreographed by Timothy Brown (Queensland Ballet and Expressions Dance Company)
Nerida Matthaei
Anthony Trojman
Elizabeth Whelan
Iona Marques
Travis Scott
Alex Weckes-Huck
David Trappes

Salõn | promotional reel from optikal bloc on Vimeo.
It is now a while since I went to opening night of Salon. I have digested the evening and followed the cast ever since. I am not reviewing the show but recording that I went. An experience that has excited and pleased me. The development of this here on such an astoundingly successful and artistic level is worth celebrating, repeating and growing. Salon is a piece devised by the exceptionally talented and beautiful choreographer and dancer Timothy Brown. Gathering independent artists from Brisbane he has created a piece that won the hearts and inspiration of everyone who went to this spellbinding show. Ballet dancers, Pole performers, Contortionists, and Circus trained artists and all backed by the exceptional music and voice of Michelle Xen and The Neon Wild.
Sitting at tables with drinks in great cabaret style the 16 of our group were dazzled and then partied for some time after the show with the cast. All were without exception so friendly and lovely. As you can see I managed to get a hug or two with the boys.
Anthony Trojman
This is an image I saw from a few hundred metres away and is what drew me to Salon. Anthony Trojman looks so spectacularly glamorous and elegant that this photograph, I believe, is what led so many to this completely sold out season of amazing talent. Anthony hails from both Expressions Dance Company and The Queensland Ballet.

I wonder if Anthony was bemused by this. I have been assured by my kind friends that I look better in the flesh. Hard to see when you are posed beside such gorgeous cast members.
Travis Scott That Pole Guy

 Travis on a swinging pole and the most athletic of boys hugging me after the show. He was still in costume because the zip of his brilliant costume was stuck. It was agreed that he had the most stunning physique.
Alex Weckes-Huck and David Trappes
These boys David and Alex were so delightful and talented. Circus trained and also multi talented.
Artist Ria Willering, Alex Weckes-Huck and me.
Michelle Xen
We chatted to this beautiful woman as well.
This clip is Not from Salon but another show at The Judy
Not to be confused with my old
Photographs by exceptional local artists
Please check their work for the arts.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...