Pil­bara beach ballet

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Dance - Tanya MacNaughton

WA Ballet never shies from a chal­lenge. So when in­vited by the City of Kar­ratha to present its Em­brace­able You pro­duc­tion in the Pil­bara, it hap­pily ac­cepted.

The ex­clu­sive event on Satur­day night was per­formed un­der the stars on the beach at Hear­son’s Cove in Mu­ru­juga Na­tional Park, close to the Bur­rup rock art.

The pro­gram in­cluded works from the Ge­orge Balan­chine sea­son at His Majesty’s Theatre last month, fol­low­ing the cur­tain raiser of Ce­les­tial Bod­ies, choreographed by Amy Wiseman and per­formed by 11 lo­cal dancers.

“Sur­pris­ingly, there are five dance schools in Kar­ratha (three of them ballet schools) so there was plenty of tal­ent ea­ger to par­tic­i­pate in this event,” WA Ballet chief ex­ec­u­tive Steven Roth said.

Cre­at­ing a theatre on sand proved dif­fi­cult but not im­pos­si­ble and in­volved ev­ery­thing from dress­ing room mar­quees to sev­eral gen­er­a­tors to power the site, in­clud­ing the com­pany’s heated stage floor.

“It was a tremen­dous suc­cess – ca­pac­ity was 800 and we ex­ceeded that,” Roth said.

“It was a starry night and the site had been beau­ti­fully lit, in­clud­ing the sur­round­ing rocky out­crops. The only hic­cup was the main gen­er­a­tor go­ing down half way through the per­for­mance throw­ing ev­ery­thing into dark­ness.

“The backup gen­er­a­tor was fired up and gave us enough light to en­ter­tain the au­di­ence with some off-the-cuff repar­tee while the tech­ni­cians sorted out the prob­lem.”

Roth said au­di­ence mem­bers in­cluded Bryan Brown and the direc­tor and crew of film Blue Dog.

“Bryan was a ter­rific guy to meet and he seemed to re­ally en­joy the per­for­mance,” he said.

“It was a pretty amaz­ing re­sponse from the peo­ple of the Pil­bara. “I think we’ll be go­ing back.”

Pic­tures: Sergey Pevnev

Above: WA Ballet prin­ci­pal dancer Jayne Smeul­ders on stage. Be­low: WA Ballet dancers with lo­cal per­form­ers.

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