The industrial feeling of the West Australian Ballet Centre in Maylands provides the perfect environment for the unique and short season of Genesis. Set against unclad red brick walls and exposed wooden beams, the relatively small stage brings a sense of intimacy and raw passion to the eight performances featured.

The openness of the studio, the lighting equipment set against the barres and the proximity of the audience to the performers creates an environment and experience vastly different to the traditional ballet held at His Majesty’s Theatre. This environment works to the company’s advantage and showcases the performers’ formidable talent.

Following Polly Hilton’s choreography in The Value of X, Meg Parry brings the audience along on a journey, lighting her way through the pitch black with a flashlight as she searches for the unknown.

A wedding gift from choreographer Christopher Hill to his close friends, The First Dance tells a beautiful love story. Chronicling the couples love from first sight to first kiss, it is an intense and beautiful pas de deux (a dance duet in which two dancers, typically a male and a female, perform ballet steps together).

Andre Santos in La Campanella (The Bell). Photo by Sergey Pevnev.
Image by Sergey Pevnev

DURRESS, the work of Adam Alzaim, sits in stark contrast to the powerful and emotional beauty of The First Dance. Brutal and violent, the work explores the formation of relationships between different entities forced to co-exist. The savagery of the movement is, Alzaim says, “almost animalistic” yet still portrays a hidden and fragile beauty.

D’Accord? was possibly the best performance of the evening, artfully and intuitively incorporating AUSLAN (Australian Sign Language) into the movement. The use of subtitle text to translate the French poem Cet amour by Jacques Prévert added to the depth of the piece, moving it from merely experimental to an all-encompassing narrative, an exploration of life and love. Choreographer Florence Leroux-Coléno stressed the importance of creating a piece for those where hearing was not possible, and the intricacy of the AUSLAN motion is both an art form and language.

Genesis was brought to a close by the dramatic, commanding piece insidious, arranged by the diminutive and powerful André Santos. The theatricality of six full-skirted warriors moving together in perfect synchronicity to a drumbeat was awe-inspiring, the ferocity of the dance almost ritualistic.

An exploration of ballet, this annual dance anthology allows WAB’s performers to try their hand at choreography and work to their talents. It is a perfect event for those unsure of the ballet, and the experimentation and unique environment provides a welcoming and inviting atmosphere for those wishing to see the art form in a different light.

Words by Tyler Morgan

‘Genesis’ ran at the WAB Centre from 22- 25 July. WAB’s next show ‘Romeo and Juliet’ runs 9 – 24 September. Tickets available here.


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