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 Post subject: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2003 4:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 47
Location: UK
Birdbrain is the brainchild of Australian Dance Theatre's Garry Stewart. I liked this piece. Swan Lake has never been my favourite ballet, and when someone like Stewart takes it apart and puts it together in such a way that engages a 21st century audience and allows them to really question the power of the Swan, well surely that's good art. I would recommend this dance to anybody who was a bit of a ballet school rebel and definitely to anyone suffers from Swan envy.

It is the post-modern, ironic, self-refernetial commentary of the iconography of Swan Lake and the Swans that Stewart bases Birdbrain on. It is clever subject matter for a dance, but not necessarily witty, and sometimes I felt he was trying to hard too achieve the latter, it comes across as an attempt at ironic wit that falls flat. That aside - ADT's dancers were something else. They absolutely tore up the floorboards on opening night by bursting with energy, athleticism and kinetic intensity. I was particularly impressed by the performance given by Kristina Chan whose solo appeared to reference 'The Black Swan'. Larissa McGowan's solo, which could have been read as 'The Dying Swan', was also fantastically danced.

All the dancers had gorgeous lines (and hair), perfect control of their bodies and could execute the "fast, aggressive and technically demanding" choreography with such ease, it might make Louise Lecavalier raise her eyebrows.

There, I've done it, I've brought Louise Lecavalier of La La La Human Steps into the mix. I do it for a reason, and that is while Stewart is busy smashing apart the Diva attitude that goes hand in hand with being a Swan, he unwittingly strives for and pays homage to another kind of Diva, that of the 'too cool for school' aesthetic of La La La Human Steps, an aesthetic that could be the ripped apart and parodied in a post-post modern way a century from now.

Birdbrain is on at the QEH Wed 7 & Thu 8.


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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2003 2:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Thanks for your review Christine. Here is another one from The Guardian.

Quote:
As the most iconic work of the classical repertory, Swan Lake is a natural target for deconstruction - and Garry Stewart's Birdbrain is, on one level, a ruthlessly slick and funny dismantling of the ballet's plot and themes. In it, the dancers of the Australian Dance Theatre streak around the stage with key concepts from the ballet printed subversively on their T-shirts. One little group designated as "corps" peel off for some dutifully unison dancing, later dividing into characters who represent either "peasant joy" or "royal disdain."
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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 2:01 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Birdbrain
By Debra Craine for The Times


THE Australian choreographer Garry Stewart has a novel take on Swan Lake. He’s interested in the bits audiences don’t usually think about, those prosaic questions you don’t ask when the poetry is working. How do those lovely women actually turn into swans? What goes on in their bodies? Does it hurt? And what happens after the desperate lovers throw themselves into the lake? Is it all over?

Birdbrain is the product of those questions (looking between the crevices, Stewart calls it), a fast, furious and sometimes funny deconstruction of Swan Lake told in breakdancing, ballet, martial arts, gymnastics and video projection. It was brought to London by Australian Dance Theatre this week.

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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 11:16 pm 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review from The Independent.

Quote:
had no idea how much fun Birdbrain would provide. This is Garry Stewart's light-hearted take on Swan Lake for the Australian Dance Theatre, which he took over in 1999 (London saw this Adelaide company years ago under different leadership). His attitude to Tchaikovsky's ballet is irreverent but never irrelevant, starting with a scratchy recording that skips through highlights of the music in a couple of minutes. Thereafter, a techno soundtrack created by Jad McAdam and Luke Smiles takes over.
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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 12:01 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Dang! Another great show I've missed. Given its success here, I guess it may well come back.


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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 2:08 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Birdbrain
By David Dougill in The Sunday Times.

At the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Australian Dance Theatre, on its first London visit for many years, presented Birdbrain, by the director-choreographer Garry Stewart — a curious, intermittently compelling essay in deconstructing Swan Lake, performed to thumping techno music with occasional incursions of Tchaikovsky.

Here again, there is a blend of dance styles — ballet movement, segueing into gymnastics and break dance, all done with fierce attack by a company of great strength and stamina. They are also adept at the quick-changing of white T-shirts labelled with the names of Swan Lake’s characters, and also concepts — such as “peasant joy”, “more pointless revelry”, “despair”, “doom”, even “drama queen”.

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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 2:56 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 11:01 pm
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Location: Estonia
Quote:
Held, Australian Dance Theatre

By JILL SYKES
The Sydney Morning Herald
August 13, 2004

Held is like fireworks: first the ooh and aah of excitement and disbelief, then gradually the impossible seems ordinary.
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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2004 10:39 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Robots now lords of the dance
By PATRICK McDONALD for The Advertiser (New south Wales)

GIANT robots will share the stage with Australian Dance Theatre performers as part of a new work being created for the 2006 Adelaide Festival.

Premier Mike Rann yesterday gave the ADT a $100,000 Art SA grant to develop The Machine, a collaboration with French-Canadian robotics expert Louis-Phillipe Demers.

Emmy-winning SA cinematographer Tony Clark will also be part of the creative team and ADT is keen to involve the robotics research team at the University of Adelaide.

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 Post subject: Re: Australian Dance Theatre
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 4:17 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Good migrations
Australia is bringing its splendid isolation to Britain
By Debra Craine for The Times


IF DANCE is a great calling card for a culture, then Australia has embarked on an unprecedented cultural assault. In the next six months the country’s top three dance companies are all coming to Britain.

The invasion starts this week, with the arrival of Australian Dance Theatre for a seven-week UK tour....Sydney Dance Company visits the Brighton Festival in May with the European premiere of a full-length piece by the American Stephen Petronio, Underland...And this summer the Australian Ballet, the flagship classical company from Melbourne, returns to Britain for the first time in 12 years with a new version of Swan Lake.

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