In-Synch: Ballet at the Quarry

The Quarry Amphitheatre


4 stars

A lone figure lies on the floor of what appears to be some kind of wet room in an institution.

It’s a stark image, somewhat chilling, and impossible to look away as the sounds of dripping water echo.

This is how the latest season of Ballet at the Quarry begins — with Finnish choreographer Johanna Nuutinen’s work, X-it.

A mix of recorded and live performance, the experimental concept sees dancers move between a big screen and the stage, so at times you question whether they are actually really there in the flesh.

Dancers of the WA Ballet and Co3 Australia in Reincarnation, as part of In-Synch: Ballet at the Quarry. Picture: Sergey Pevnev

WA Ballet was given exclusive access to film in Fremantle Prison, using some of the complex’s most haunting spaces as dioramas for viewers to peer into.

The movement that unfolds between the real and captured worlds is just as striking, as performers play with power, emotion and paranoia through almost reptilian forms.

X-it is one of four pieces presented in line with the Quarry season’s contemporary display.

The boundary-pushing spirit continued with the world premiere of namesake work In-Synch, an improvised spectacle that involves the audience through a live poll where voters can choose from one of four soundscapes.

“At times you question whether they are actually really there in the flesh.”

On this occasion, Baltic Melodrama was the winning score and dancers had free reign to explore seven zones on the stage, each with a different parameter upon which to base their in-the-moment motion.

Another world premiere, Reincarnation, is a collaboration with dance company Co3 and weaves a loose medieval narrative complete with monarchs, knights and a dragon beast around ideas of death, rebirth and transformation.

Julio Blanes and Kymberleigh Cowley dance in X-it, part of In-Synch: Ballet at the Quarry. Picture: Sergey Pevnev

Each of these three works represent the depth and texture of what WA Ballet is capable of.

Unexpected and exciting, they all embody a distinct flavour while complementing one another.

For comedic relief among the theatrics is the return of The Sofa, which was a beloved bite-sized inclusion in the 2014 program.

A hilarious love triangle unfolds on a couch, with the interplay between the masculine and feminine a true joy to watch. In-Synch: Ballet at the Quarry may be polarising for those who prefer the classics, but the splice of light-hearted fun was a reminder not too take it all too seriously.

In-Synch: Ballet at the Quarry is playing select days until March 2. Details from Ticketmaster.