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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2002 10:16 am 
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From Its music, story make ballet popular by Anita Amirrezvani:

Quote:
"'Swan Lake' actually reminds me of 'Star Wars,'" says Garry Stewart, artistic director of Australian Dance Theatre, who has created a postmodern tribute to "Swan Lake" called "Birdbrain."
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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2002 3:34 am 
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Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Birdbrain in Anchorage, Alaska

Quote:
Version of 'Swan Lake' by turns clever and confusing
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<small>[ 10 March 2005, 04:11 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2002 8:04 pm 
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Originally posted by Basheva in another thread:

From the Chicago Tribune:

Dance review, 'Birdbrain' at the Dance Center of Columbia

By Sid Smith

Quote:
The season is only 2 months old, but already the Dance Center of Columbia College can brag about the quality of its stellar offerings so far.
That's not to suggest that the latest presentation, the Australian Dance Theatre's "Birdbrain," is a perfectly honed work of art. This hip, raucous, wildly inventive fantasia on "Swan Lake" is uneven, and sometimes its greatest strength, its youthful sensibility, gives way to the puerile.
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<small>[ 10 March 2005, 04:12 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2002 8:04 pm 
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Originally posted by Basheva in another thread:

From the Chicago Sun Times:

A brainy 'Birdbrain'

November 9, 2002

BY HEDY WEISS DANCE CRITIC

Quote:
In the best of all possible worlds, dance audiences would see the Bolshoi Ballet's production of "Swan Lake" that arrives next week at the Auditorium Theatre, take a quick break and then head over to the Dance Center of Columbia College to catch "Birdbrain," the Australian Dance Theatre's brainy, provocative, hip-hop-driven, multimedia deconstruction of the classic work.
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<small>[ 10 March 2005, 04:12 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2002 8:05 pm 
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djb's response in the other thread:

Quote:
Now I'm sorry I didn't see this production, if only because of the "hilarious take on the original's 32 fouette turns. (Here they're done as a relay and tallied by an electronic scoreboard.)" (from the Hedy Weiss review) I abhor 32 fouttes, wherever they appear. I think this is the only way they should be done. Maybe the audience should be allowed to rate them, as well, and the score would appear above the stage.


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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2003 4:46 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Australian Dance Theatre
Birdbrain reviewed in Brave New World

Perhaps I should confess first that I might possibly never have gone anywhere near this without seeing this not unexciting picture postered up around central Sydney (the "CBD" as I've learned to call it) while walking about the city like the tourist I am. The funny thing about it is that neither she nor anyone else in the production actually wears a hot red dress or any feathers at all. Could they possibly have been cynically trying to draw in lowbrow punters like me with a misleading sexy image? Surely not??

This trip to Australia was in the first place about seeing relatives; then about seeing something of the country... so, you go and see sights and in Sydney you gravitate towards one of the world's most famous buildings, the Opera House. And rather than just gawp, I thought, if there's something half interesting, I'd like to see it. To give this trip a multi-faceted flavour. Hence my positive response to the poster. The opportunity was there, so I bought the ticket.

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<small>[ 10 March 2005, 04:13 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2005 4:34 am 
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Quote:
Australian Dance Theatre

by KELLY APTER
the Scotsman

Despite its status as the most popular ballet of all time, choreographers aren’t afraid to tamper with it. And time and again, the passionate tale of a young prince and his enchanted sweetheart emerges unscathed.
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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 11:04 am 
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Swanning about in T-shirts
By Ellie Carr for The Sunday Herald

IF you’ve seen or heard of just one ballet, chances are it is Swan Lake...Perhaps that’s why countless choreographers have felt compelled to slaughter – or at very least dissect – this most sacred of balletic cows.

Garry Stewart of Australian Dance Theatre – whose high-octane, body-slamming Swan Lake spin, Birdbrain, returns to Scotland next month – is one such choreographer. For years he has pondered the question: why do we still love Swan Lake?

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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:46 am 
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Garry Stewart
londondance interviews the AD of Australian Dance Theatre


Garry Stewart is artistic director of Australian Dance Theatre, one of the country’s most influential dance companies. Since Stewart took over its directorship in 1999, ADT has enjoyed huge success, both at home and internationally. ADT is currently touring the UK with two of Stewart’s productions, Birdbrain, a radical reworking of Swan Lake, and Age of Unbeauty, a powerful and timely evocation of man’s inhumanity to man.

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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 1:03 am 
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Birdbrain
By Debra Craine for The Times


TAKING a famous ballet as his starting point gives the Australian choreographer Garry Stewart a shortcut to his audience’s attention. But as Birdbrain, the title of his Swan Lake deconstruction, makes abundantly clear, resemblance to the original is not part of the agenda.

Except for a brief snippet at the beginning and end, Tchaikovsky’s score doesn’t get a look-in, and although Stewart tells the story in his own skewed way, there is no logical sense of narrative or any kind of emotional engagement.

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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2005 1:57 am 
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Location: London, England
Australian Dance Theatre
Birdbrain
Queen Elizabeth Hall
02/03/05

The dancers of ADT are truly fearless. They think nothing of launching horizontally into the air for fleeting seconds before plummeting to the floor and into a chain reaction of knee-spinning, shoulder-standing, body-flipping moves. This is modern dance as an extreme sport, and the adrenaline-fuelled athleticism comes thick and fast in Birdbrain, ADT’s techno-take on Swan Lake.

Director Garry Stewart has deconstructed the classic ballet, stripping out plot, character, history and themes of lust, love and betrayal, to be played with at whim. He signposts the dancers’ functions with boldly labelled t-shirts saying ‘corps’, ‘lover’ and ‘forest’, a device that enables him to set up a witty duet between ‘peasant joy’ and ‘royal disdain’. It’s like Swan Lake told by Baz Luhrmann but minus the chintzy art direction. In this case, this stage set is austere, and the soundtrack cold, relentless techno.

Much venerated traditions are affectionately mocked, like the cult of the ballerina and the famous 32 fouettes. There’s a body popping Prince Siegfried, Baron Rothbart played as an unnerving contortionist, and a dance of the cygnets that becomes a tangle of muscular limbs weaving every which way.

There’s no straightforward narrative, and as befits a story of identity theft and dual personalities, the dancers play multiple roles, but many of the original elements remain. And there’s even some ballet. Stylised, ballet voguing you might call it, but beautifully executed nonetheless.

Yoga, gymnastics, capoeira and contemporary dance are also thrown into the mix and although each dancer’s body is radically different they match one another for power and punch. Larissa McGowan in particular comes out flying, and can switch from fighting kick to stealthy balance in an instant. But this is a company performance, and a very tight one at that.

The fragmented nature of the piece, and its chilly atmosphere, makes Birdbrain more awesome than engaging, but amid the physical onslaught there are some incredibly effective moments. The final scene for example, when a desperate Odette throws herself literally into the arms of the lake, shows that Stewart has not siphoned off all the drama.

In fact, one could argue that this dim, doomed passion is a much more apt portrayal of the story than the usual tutued prettiness. Although completely different to Matthew Bourne’s reworking, Birdbrain also reveals the viciousness and tenderness of the tale from beneath a knowing, post-modernist veneer. And like Bourne’s version, this too is deservedly a huge hit.


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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 6:57 am 
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Quote:
Powerful reimaginings

by ISMENE BROWN
the Daily Telegraph

Best of all is a brilliantly oblique scene for Odette and Siegfried's drowning – three people called "lake" swirling on the floor, and two "lovers" toppling into the arms of catchers labelled "H2O".
more in the second part of the linked article


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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 10:43 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Birdbrain
By Jann Parry for The Observer

Garry Stewart, director and choreographer of Australian Dance Theatre, has hitched his Birdbrain to the mighty reputation of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and then done away with the music. His big idea is to have hyperactive young people fling themselves at and over each other as if tumbling through a storm-tossed lake. They move at breakneck speed to a thumping electronic score, combining ballet, hip hop, yoga and extreme martial arts manoeuvres. White T-shirts with black slogans identify them as Odette, Odile, Siegfried (or Fried Sieg when two men split the role between them).

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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 1:00 pm 
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"The Age of Unbeauty", Australian Dance Theatre, Friday, 4th March, 2003 - a few thoughts

A stunning company with some of the most powerful dancers you are likely to see, harnessing their skills to make expressive, thoughtful work.

"Unbeauty" describes conflict and abuse and, of course, this is a vital theme at the present time, as revelations emerge daily, of the commom use worldwide of torture, or at best, cruel and inhuman punishment, even by various US authorities. However, until the final 15 minutes, ADT present the material in such an unrelenting way that I began to feel shell-shocked, despite the visual strength of some of the tableaux.

Christopher Bruce has written that he deliberately included humourous sections in "Swansong" to point up the darker passages more sharply and I can see this point more clearly, now.

Nevertheless, ADT are definitely worth seeing and I might make the trip up to High Wycombe to see their "Birdbrain".

<small>[ 07 March 2005, 03:03 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:51 am 
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Australian Dance Theatre

by JUDITH MACKRELL
the Guardian

Yet despite the dancers' virtuosity and Stewart's own punishing inventiveness, the piece ultimately fails to get under the skin of its material.

At no point does this fiercely crafted, often shockingly beautiful choreography individualise or characterise the dancers - which means that at no point do we grasp the personal violation resulting from institutionalised abuse.
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