Spirit of the dance alive and well

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - Milky Way: Bal­let at the Quarry Quarry Am­phithe­atre February 9 to March 3 www.tick­et­mas­ter.com.au Tanya Mac­naughton

WA Bal­let prin­ci­pal Matt Lehmann has en­joyed a well-de­served end of year break fol­low­ing his star­ring role as Cap­tain Hook in Peter Pan.

“I’m a Mel­bourne boy so I’m headed over to see fam­ily be­fore com­ing back to Perth and go­ing down south with my fi­ancee to spend time with her big South African fam­ily,” Lehmann said.

“For me, I just had to make sure it’s still a pretty ac­tive cou­ple of weeks be­cause we only have four weeks when we get back to put Bal­let at the Quarry to­gether.

“We hit the ground run­ning so you have to come back fight­ing fit; if you take a week to get back in to shape, you’ve lost too much time.

“I used to be able to do that when I was younger, but can’t get away with it any more. My body ain’t what it used to be.”

The dancer will be a lead in chore­og­ra­pher and Lar­rakia man Gary Lang’s world pre­miere of Mil­ngia, Milky Way – River of Stars, one of four works pre­sented at Bal­let at the Quarry in 2018.

The col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Gary Lang NT Dance Com­pany and WA Bal­let will be danced to a live per­for­mance by so­prano and Yorta Yorta woman Deb­o­rah Cheetham.

It is based on the in­dige­nous story about two fish­er­men whose spir­its go to the sky to cre­ate the Milky Way.

“I’ve danced to a live opera singer be­fore when I was in Canada and it’s an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to have that added art form on stage; it’s very cool,” Lehmann said.

“When the dancers are con­nected emo­tion­ally and spir­i­tu­ally to the piece, it’s eas­ier for the au­di­ence to con­nect too.

“This piece has a very deep and spir­i­tual un­der­tone to it. Gary him­self is very spir­i­tual and he wants us to con­nect to our own spir­i­tual side, what­ever it is that we re­late to, bring­ing what we be­lieve for­ward to the work.

“And I think the Quarry it­self has that nat­u­ral spir­i­tual sense to it.”

Lang did a two-week cre­ative de­vel­op­ment at WA Bal­let in Oc­to­ber af­ter months of whis­pers around the com­pany about the po­ten­tial col­lab­o­ra­tion. Lehmann said the two-week re­hearsal was great to lay the ground­work be­fore Lang’s re­turn this month.

“It was the first time I’d worked with Gary, he’s so pas­sion­ate and al­ways has a story about some­thing. It was great to do some­thing dif­fer­ent al­though it made the body a bit sore be­cause the move­ment vo­cab­u­lary has el­e­ments of the tra­di­tional Abo­rig­i­nal dance in it, which is very grounded. The body wasn’t used to it, so it was a bit sore for a cou­ple of days,” he said.

“We’ve tech­ni­cally fin­ished the bal­let but Gary has gone away and I’m sure he’ll have a look at the video and tweak some things, which is nat­u­ral and al­ways hap­pens.”

Mil­ngia, Milky Way – River of Stars will be joined on the bill by Les In­domptes by French chore­og­ra­pher Claude Bru­ma­chon, an­other French work by chore­og­ra­pher Patrick Del­croix and Ghost Gum, cre­ated by WA Bal­let demisoloist Christo­pher Hill.

Gary Lang (sec­ond from left) and Matt Lehmann (third from left) in the WA Bal­let re­hearsal room.

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