Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LIFESTYLE - Tanya MacNaughton

TAL­ENTED WA Bal­let soloist An­dre Santos is a dancer with a beau­ti­ful gift for bring­ing char­ac­ters like Peter Pan and Pinoc­chio to life over his last six years with the com­pany.

His fear of bal­let tech­nique some­times be­ing over­shad­owed by sto­ry­telling in­spired him to chore­o­graph In Black for Gen­e­sis in 2014 – a sea­son of short works cre­ated by WA Bal­let dancers.

Artis­tic di­rec­tor Aure­lien Scan­nella asked Santos to re­visit the work for one of five pieces pre­sented at this year’s Five By Night: Bal­let at the Quarry sea­son.

“In Black was my way of try­ing to stray away from any kind of sto­ry­line and just have peo­ple danc­ing and do­ing in­tri­cate move­ment, so that au­di­ences can see all the train­ing we have is still there,” Santos said.

“I wanted it to be ab­stract, hence In Black fo­cus­ing on tech­nique; we work hard, push a lot and al­ways need the lit­tle feel­ing of good com­pe­ti­tion to keep on push­ing.”

Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Santos said the lat­est rein­car­na­tion of his work had changed but the essence of the piece was still there.

“Some parts have been sim­pli­fied or made clearer be­cause when I did it for Gen­e­sis we only had two weeks and it was an 11minute work,” he said.

“For this sea­son, the cast is big­ger (five male, eight fe­male

dancers) and it’s quite a lot longer at 21 min­utes. “I love where the dancers are tak­ing it be­cause at the end of the day, as a chore­og­ra­pher and col­league, there’s only so much I can do.

“I can give the move­ment but it’s beau­ti­ful to see how a dancer takes that and adds their own per­son­al­ity to it.” While Santos, who trained at the New Zealand School of Dance be­fore join­ing WA Bal­let, will not him­self be per­form­ing in In Black, he will be on stage in three other works.

His am­bi­tion is to con­tinue chore­ograph­ing in the fu­ture.

“I’m still new at it and it doesn’t get eas­ier; I still get re­ally scared and freaked out,” he said. “I find it very dif­fi­cult telling peo­ple what to do, es­pe­cially when I work with them, but I’m very for­tu­nate I work with peo­ple who have such a high level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism and are so help­ful.

“I feel like I learn a lot more while I’m chore­ograph­ing than when I’m danc­ing be­cause you start to no­tice things about the peo­ple around you that you don’t usu­ally no­tice.

“When you’re on the op­po­site side of the ta­ble to see how they work, what they can do and how they move their body is sur­pris­ing and then you start to push them a lit­tle bit more. I’ve seen it, I know they can do it, so I don’t want any less than that.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d448855

Chore­og­ra­pher An­dre Santos (front) with Florence Ler­oux-Coleno, Chris­tian

Luck and Polly Hil­ton.

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