The debut collaboration between the students of the National Institute of Circus Arts and the Australian Ballet School re-imagined Igor Stravinsky’s and Vaslav Njinsky work ‘The Rite of Spring’, a tale of an annual Pagan ritual,featuring a sacrifice to the Gods. The show features a variety of circus acts and ballet performances, combined with elements of dialogue and singing, and accompanied by a beautiful and varied soundscape.
All these elements are fused together to tell a powerful and confronting story, which spoke volumes about the issues we are currently facing in our current society, such as: LGBTQI+ awareness and issues of anxiety caused by modern life. Simon Dow, resident choreographer of the National Ballet stated: “It is a time in history where we are questioning who and what are we? What is our greatest possibility?” These questions were the core concerns of this work and were addressed by the combination of multi-modal artistic disciplines and varied staging.
The cast was large, consisting of 44 students from both schools. Their teamwork created a sense of unity; attention always being placed in a way that best served the performance. Zebastian Hunter, the NICA performance co-ordinator described the combination of students as “a crossover, and exchange of skills and mutual wonder.” These students truly gave everything of themselves in order to serve the concepts that this work questions and challenges.
Aside from the performers’ commitment to their craft, the work was visually stunning and pleasing to the ears. The costumes were a standout factor as they went away from the traditional circus/ballet garments replacing conservative attire with bright and colourful pieces that allowed the performers to express their individuality, and, as much as is possible in such large scale work, express their true selves. The music worked well throughout and added to the mood of the performances, while also providing needed contrast and smooth transitions between the scenes. All these combined creating a show, which is full of surprises.
This was truly one of a kind production that is as visually stunning as it is internally compelling – realistic reflection of our lives: always moving up and down, twisting and turning in directions and never truly knowing what will happen next. Here’s to the relationship between the ABS and NICA remaining strong and firm as Le Sacre, truly is a ‘sacred’ piece of work.