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WAAPA Dancers on the Verge of Success

Wednesday, 02 November 2016


From Monday, 12 - Monday 19 November WAAPA stages its final dance season for the year in the Geoff Gibbs Theatre at Edith Cowan University’s Mount Lawley campus. Verge features four works covering classical and contemporary styles and dance students from across all three years of the dance program. Thanks to the generosity of the Jackman Furness Foundation for the Performing Arts (JFFPA) WAAPA is able to bring acclaimed Dutch choreographer, Nils Christe back to Perth, as well as European-based Australian, Lewis Major and from the Athens based Jukstapoz Dance Company we welcome back WAAPA alumnus, Paul Blackman and his creative partner Christine Gouzelis.

Classical ballet lovers are in for a real treat with The Rehearsal, a divertissement piece inspired by three extraordinary men; Degas, Tchaikovski and Cecchetti, each a master in their field and intrinsically linked by their love, or fascination of dance. The piece opens as though from a scene depicted in one of Degas’ paintings. Dancers stretch and chat, whilst Maestro Cecchetti directs them in rehearsal. Featuring excerpts from The Nutcracker, Marius Petipas’ Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, and original choreography from Kim McCarthy. The Rehearsal is brought to life by the music of Tchaikovski, accompanied live by Gennaro Di Donna and Runa Murase. In a coup for WAAPA, Graeme Murphy has given permission to WAAPA Dance lecturer, Danielle Hunt to stage the Four Cygnets from his version of Swan Lake.

The cast of The Rehearsal includes four current students, Sarah Ouwendyk, Isabelle, Evelyn Roberts and Kristin Barwick, all of whom have been invited to compete in the 2016 Genee International Ballet Competition. Named after the Royal Academy of Dance's first president Dame Adeline Genée DBE, the competition is the RAD's flagship annual event. Known simply as ‘the Genée’, it is one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world, attracting the finest young dancers trained in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus, from around the globe.

WAAPA dance graduate, Paul Blackman, returns to his alma mater with his partner in Jukstapoz Dance Company, Christine Gouzelis, for Hand of the Foe. Founded in 2010 and based in Athens, Jukstapoz Dance Company’s ambition is to entertain the curiosity of audiences through physical dance theatre, by means of an offbeat, cinematic approach. Paul says of this work, “With Hand of the Foe we observe a mechanism of bodies that is altered by the dysfunctional behaviours of Man. Distracted amongst the reflective illusion of light within darkness, how does cause & effect react against relationships, landscapes and sound? Do these figures ultimately perish or does a resilience rise from their ashes?"

Lewis Major presents his new work, Sum, as part of this season. “Sum is a work about the passage of time, and of all things; a wave of movement passes, touching on ideas of the afterlife, Buddhist teachings on enlightenment and a slow realization of mortality, epiphany, and heartache.”

Lewis Major is an award-winning choreographer and dance artist based in Australia and Europe. Originally from the deep south of regional South Australia, he grew up on a farm shearing sheep and driving tractors. Not having set foot in a theatre until he was 15, he finds it ironic to now be working in the most maligned and misunderstood sector of the arts industry: Contemporary Dance. His work is therefore invested in the potential of choreography and performance to inform a cultural discourse of sorts and to enable affective experiences. As a performer and dance maker, he has worked with and alongside Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant, Shaun Parker, Aakash Odedra, Hans van Den Broeck and others. With an extensive back catalogue of choreographies, he has created and staged his own work on 6 continents.

Dutch choreographer Nils Christe has chosen 14 of his originally 24 world wide performed Purcell Pieces to be danced by the third year dancers of.
Each movement to the exquisite music of Henri Purcell, ranging from 36 seconds to three minutes, instrumental or with voice, depicts a different emotion.
This specially selected version will be performed by 16 dancers from both the classical and the contemporary streams.

Born in Rotterdam, Holland, Nils Christe was a lead dancer with Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) for fifteen years and while there, choreographed his first ballet at age 25 for the company. He went on to create 12 works for NDT before his departure in 1982, including Quartet 1, which won first prize at the Choreographic Competition in Cologne in 1979. From 1986 to 1993, Christe was the Artistic Director of Scapino Ballet Rotterdam. He created seven new works, including his first and very successful story ballet, Pulcinello. Christe’s extensive body of new work now encompasses over 80 ballets, and he has worked as a freelance choreographer for countless dance companies around the world. He has also created choreographies for operas including Dido and Aeneas, Aida and Achnaton.

For all venue and performance details, please visit the Verge performance web page.


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