Season of Ballet: Carnaval, Pas de Six, Cinderella
THE SGIO THEATRE
Throughout its long history, the Ballet Theatre of Queensland always chose the best of Brisbane theatres as their preferred performance spaces. When the SGIO Theatre in Turbot Street opened its doors in the late 1960s, BTQ seized the opportunity to mount its 1969 Season of Ballet there. It was an exciting new space for BTQ to celebrate 25 years of presenting ballet to Queensland audiences. In the forward to the program, SGIO Theatre Manager Donald Batchelor wrote in the program introduction:
The SGIO Theatre is a tremendous challenge to us all. It sets standards of professionalism and excellence we should all strive to match. We can no longer be content with amateurish attitudes.
No one denies that the presentation of this challenge was sudden and unexpected. We did not have to face years of struggle and argument and bitter frustration as they did in Sydney and Melbourne. Their professionalism was slowly developed and hard won; ours has come almost over-night as a result of the benevolence and vision of the State Government Insurance Office administrators.
Those people and companies in Queensland with enough initiative will seize the opportunity so easily presented to them and strain themselves to measure up to the demands of so excellent a theatre. In doing so they are leaping years into the future. Others will not be ready and will stand timidly back while events rush ahead of them.
The Ballet Theatre of Queensland is one of the companies which has always had its eye on the highest standards. One is hardly surprised that it is one of the first local companies to mount a season in this theatre. Good luck to them. I hope this building will be a great stimulus to their work.
CINDERELLA BALLET STUNNING SUCCESS
Review by Constance Cummins
Witty choreography, elegant costumes, and joyous dancing were all part of the ambitious programme presented last night by the Ballet Theatre of Queensland.
Highlight of the performance at the SGIO theatre was the stunningly successful neo-classical Russian ballet “Cinderella”. The standard achieved was a triumph for artistic director Phyllis Danaher, who expertly arranged the choreography.
Fortunately there is no saccharinity in Prokofiev’s music, which is sometimes rollicking, yet provides a fit accompaniment to fairytale spectacle and romance.
As the ugly sisters Dayne Cory and Ken McCaffrey delighted the audience by prancing around in long white underwear, parading in absurdly elaborate ball-gowns, and jealously quarrelling over a bit of finery. Light-footed, yet always ludicrous, the two dancers excelled as a comedy team in the ballroom scene.
The egotistical sisters were an excellent foil to the gentle Cinderella, whose pensive mood in the first act was touchingly interpreted by Inara Svalbe.
Her transformation into a fairy princess was appropriately dazzling. In the ballroom pas de deux she executed arabesque penchant, and other difficult movements, with satisfying ease.
The most spectacular part of the ballet, the pageant of the Four Seasons, was notable for poetic choreography, beautiful dancing and costumes.
Pat Whitaker exuberantly led the garlanded dancers of spring. Helen Herbertson, as the Summer Fairy, created the atmosphere of golden, drowsy days in the sun. Barbara Eversen gave drama to the dance of the swirling red leaves of autumn. Judith Lowe was a sparkling Winter Fairy.
In the rather uninteresting role of the Prince, Mal Czislowski showed technical competence, except in one moment of unbalance.
The programme also included Schumann’s “Carnaval”, a delicate study of demure, Victorian gaiety. The ballet calls for great finish in style, and this was not always sustained. Dayne Cory was outstanding in his portrayal of Pierrot.
Desley Hammond at times slightly overdid the coquetry of Columbine, but fluttered her hands and frilly skirts very prettily. Peter Lucas caught the flashy mannerisms of Harlequin very well. Laurel Eastment had poise and charm as the gracious Chiarina, and April Perkins was airily tantalising as Papillon.
Some of the best dancing of the evening was in the “Pas De Six”.
No balletomane should miss this short season which continues until Saturday night.
The Courier Mail, 3 September 1969
Researcher and writer: Dr Christine Comans