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Dominion Post: Artistic passion touches hearts of appreciative audience (Wellington)

Updated: Mar 23, 2021

This article was originally published by the Dominion Post on 17 March 2021. Click here to view the original article.

Lyne Pringle | Mar 17 2021

Transfigured Night, presented by BalletCollective Aotearoa and New Zealand String Quartet, March 15Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, reviewed by Lyne Pringle.

This was the inaugural performance of BalletCollective Aotearoa in Wellington. They join forces with Chamber Music New Zealand to bring the elegance of contemporary classical dance and music to the stage in Transfigured Night.

The New Zealand String Quartet – Helene Pohl, Monique Lapins, Gillian Ansell and Rolf Gjelsten, along with guests Serenity Thurlow and Ken Ichinose – are joined by dancers Laura Saxon Jones, William Fitzgerald and Tabitha Dombroski to transfigure the expectations of the audience.

Artistic director and choreographer Loughlan Prior embraces the challenge of bringing coherency to the programme. The eyes are invited to hear and the ears to see. Frequently the marriage of art forms hits a sweet spot: the quirky and curious interchanges in Tabea Squire’s commissioned work I Danced, Unseen or a staccato section where musicians and dancers move directionally as one in Dvořák’s String Sextet in A major or the sensuous and beautifully crafted interweaving trios in Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht – here the evening lifts off choreographically.

Prior deploys a range of choreographic devices to find a language for each work in the programme. Movement motifs are revisited throughout the evening to provide an overarching structure, yet there is a sense of many choreographic boxes opened all at once rather than drilling into a more selective cache.