Sylvia, Symphony in C, Release

Sylvia, Symphony in C, Release

May 25th, 1985 — June 8th, 1985


Review by Anna Zantiotis

The Ballet Theatre of Queensland opened its 1985 season with an enchanting program of three works, Symphony in C, Release and Sylvia. A youthful and enthusiastic company, the 40 dancers demonstrated spirit, dedication and promise of some emergent bright futures.

Symphony in C opened the program. The audience was at once introduced to many of the company in a traditional ballet which concentrated on the dance. Nineteen delightfully costumed girls displayed a cross-section of styles in an interpretation of Bizet’s music.

Principal dancer Nadine Sayers displayed strength and precision while Susan Barnes and Joanne Manning were charming as the white girls. Phyllis Danaher was the choreographer and Inara Svalbe the designer.

Release choreographed by Sam Chambers, is new to the company and enabled its members to demonstrate their versatility with contemporary and classical movements set to the music of Vivaldi.

The first sequence was danced without music, and the movements were forceful and sure. Inside an opaque enclosure at centre stage, dancers wait to be released. With the raising of this enclosure they are free to delight in the music. Release is very much a product of its lighting. Its starkness comes from the contrast of red and white light.

The major work Sylvia choreographed by Marilyn Jones, returns to mainstream classical ballet, portraying the mythical world of gods, magicians, fauns and nymphs. Amyntas, a shepherd, falls in love with Sylvia, a beautiful nymph who is abducted by the evil hunter Orion. However, with a little assistance from Eros, Sylvia and Amyntas escape kidnap and death to remain together.

Susan Scott is a delight in the demanding role of Sylvia, combining a good sense of theatre with precise and graceful dancing. As Amyntas, Grant McLay was every bit the love-struck shepherd. His performance was expressive, his execution of leaps and lifts admirable. They danced the pas de deux in the third act with strength and sensitivity.

These sensitive performances were perhaps a little upstaged by the dynamic Jeff McCormack. As Orion, the menacing black hunter, he leapt around the stage with great assurance.

Much of Sylvia’s enchanted atmosphere sprang from the appropriately simple sets and costume. In act one the audience was taken to a dimly lit grove where fauns and nymphs play, then by the clever use of screens and red lights to the sinister Orion’s cave and finally to the temple of Diana.

The youth and vitality of the Ballet Theatre of Queensland reinforces the agelessness of the ballet itself, an art of be performed and shared by youth and old alike.

The Australian, 31 May 1985.

Courtesy Judith and Wendy Lowe


SGIO Theatre, Brisbane
Caloundra Cultural Centre
Toowoomba City Hall
Artistic Director
Phyllis Danaher M.B.E.
Production Director
Wendy Lowe, Susan Scott
'Sylvia' choreographed by Marilyn Jones and reproduced by Wendy Lowe & Susan Scott
'Symphony in C' by Phyllis Danaher & Inara Svalbe reproduced by Wendy Lowe
'Release' by Stan Chambers
Guest Artists
Marilyn Jones O.B.E.
Costume Designer
'Sylvia' Natalie Hearman
'Symphony in C' by Phyllis Danaher & Inara Svalbe
'Release' by Stan Chambers
Scenic Designer
'Sylvia' by Natalie Hearman
'Symphony in C' by Kenneth McCaffrey
Leo Delibes, Bizet, Vivaldi, Georges Bizet, Antonio Vivaldi
Mrs Cath Mackenzie-Forbes O.A.M.


  • Susan Scott
  • Grant McLay
  • Keith Neilsen
  • Jeff McCormack
  • Eric Hauff
  • Judith Saxon
  • Nadine Sayers
  • Susan Barnes
  • Joanne Manning
  • Lisa Grosskopf
  • Susan Wells
  • Lisa Wilson
  • Larissa Wright
  • Stephen Stanfield
  • Ray Magee
  • Kerry Brown
  • Kimberley Bennett
  • Donna Cooper
  • Marnie Boreham
  • Leanne Edelstein
  • Elissa Gibbs
  • Kim Kerrigan
  • Fiona Malone
  • Joanne Manning
  • Robyn Ross
  • Sally Smith
  • Sandra Wells

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