If you have a heart condition, we’d caution you before watching this show. Everyone else – go, go, go! The dance extravaganza is a super-sexy snapshot of Cuba, with an energetic dance troupe pirouetting though the mambo to Cubanchero to Beyoncé, in minimal attire. It’s a scalding melting pot of contemporary ballet, street dance and hip hop, but the technique of the dancers is as flawless as any classical show. We’re not quite sure how they manage the gravity-defying (and anatomy-defying) moves, but it’s quite the sight, and pulsing tunes from an Havanan eight-piece live band adds to the party. Fortunately for your blood pressure, the heart-palpitating energy is tempered by slower, more sensual pieces that use elongated ballet forms to striking effect. Regal Theatre, July 21-31.
Okay, so he admits he might be biased, but we wouldn’t challenge Aurélien Scannella’s view that Coppélia, a joint effort from the West Australian and the Queensland ballets, is a must-see of the season. The hilarious performance, set in the German settlement of Hahndorf, South Australia in 1878, sees a village youth fall in love with a life-sized doll created by an inventor, casting off his real-life love in the process. Guess those creepy guys in love with their sex toys aren’t a modern phenomenon, huh? “I just know it will be fantastic viewing,” says Scannella. “I am looking forward to seeing our boys tackle playing football on the stage at His Majesty’s Theatre!” Say what? Well, now we can’t wait either. His Majesty’s Theatre, September 11-26.
The Sleeping Beauty
Photography Georges Antoni
When we approached dance insiders last edition for their top picks of the season ahead, they reeled off a few names. But what they were really looking forward to, they told us, was this sumptuously staged ballet. The Australian Ballet’s new artistic director, David McAllister, is at the helm of the enchanting production, which brings to life elements like fairies, nymphs and a golden court – not to mention the wondrous Rose Adagio, one of the most infamously difficult ballet sequences ever. Lucky the cast has the talent to pull it off. With a score by Tchaikovsky and lush costumes and set from Gabriela Tylesova, the Czech designer who was much lauded for her work on Love Never Dies, the performance is a magical respite from reality and a throwback to the golden age of ballet. Don’t miss the moment when Sleeping Beauty opens her eyes. Crown Theatre, October 7-10.
Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games
If what’s popular is good, Lord of the Dance is beyond reproach. Since its inception in the mid-90s, the Irish spectacle has scored the title of the most successful dance show in the world, touring 68 countries and presenting to 60 million people. That’s almost triple Australia’s population. So what’s all the fuss about? A classic battle of good versus evil, a passionate love story, and cracking good Irish dance, that’s what. Original choreographer and dancer Michael Flatley is still on board as director for this revival, which sold out London’s West End last year, but has a fresh 40-strong troupe of cast, led by James Keegan, Morgan Comer and Matthew Smith, and new music penned by composer Gerard Fahy.
Crown Theatre, September 15-20.
Photography Tristram Kenton
Cut the sky
When this dance piece came to Perth as part of PIAF earlier this year, then-festival director Jonathan Holloway told us, “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” If the world – or, you know, the competitive clutter of summer arts events – got in the way of seeing it, here’s a second chance. “It’s a really moving piece of dance, song, video and poetry from a great intercultural company based in Broome,” says Amy Barrett-Lennard, who will be making the trip to Mandurah to watch the richly textured piece. In the performance, WA’s own dance company Marrugeku explores the role of Aboriginal land rights and our relationship with the earth through bold and brilliant dance, set to poetry by dream-catcher Edwin Lee Mulligan and songs by Nick Cave and Ngaiire. The grand finale is an absolute showstopper: we defy you to leave unmoved. Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, August 7-8.
Photography Jalaru Photography