A perfect birthday present to give is one where you also get the treat. This year my daughter suggested that my present to her could be tickets for the National Ballet of China’s performance of The Red Detachment of Women.
I thought this an excellent plan and of course my ballet student granddaughter was included as well.
The curtain at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, is stunning; 5000m2 of fabric, painted in gold. Note the almost centre seats, towards the rear of the circle which provided an excellent view of both dancers and the State Orchestra of Victoria.
Choreographed in 1964, the story of good triumphing over evil is classic ballet fare, this time based on true stories. However the dancers’ strength, athleticism and beauty is not hidden under metres of tulle, instead shirts and shorts feature with rifles and grenades. At one point a seemingly endless line of dancers with rifles at the ready executed a precisely synchronised series of grand jeté across the stage. It was amazing, like they were flying.
Coming out of the theatre into the night, we were met with light and colour everywhere. An inflated lotus on the forecourt provided a soft light contrasting with the wash of colour over the building, while the spire sparkled.
The NGV was preparing for White Night on Saturday, the projected test pattern provided an opportunity to play in the light.