Arts Centre, Melbourne
December 13 2103
By Rebecca Martin of Dance Informa.
If you can’t see the Nutcracker at Christmas, then Petal Miller Ashmole’s The Snow Queen is the next best thing.
A fairytale story of magic, gypsies, romance and a snow palace, the ballet gives much to the audience while allowing the varied levels of The Australian Ballet School’s students to perform. And the levels are indeed varied. We saw the beautiful lead roles of Gerda and Kai performed by graduating students contrasted with the younger students, including girls dancing in flat shoes – which was a surprise given The Australian Ballet School’s elite status as our national training institute for ballet. However, it must be remembered that these are still young students and they are only on the cusp of their professional careers.
Marcus Morelli, who played the role of Kai showed no hint of being a student. With exquisite technique, extraordinary ability, line and charisma, his performance shone like a true professional. It is no surprise that he has joined The Australian Ballet this year. A bright future lies ahead for Morelli. Similary, Emma McFarlane gave a polished performance. She showed assured technique and a gentle artistry that was a delight to watch.
Act 2 opened with the magical Snow Palace scene which drew gasps of delight from the audience as the curtain rose. The snowflake tutus and opulent Snow Queen were a highlight.
Although this was a lovely performance, the Australian Ballet School does need to up the ante a little in their end of year productions. Other full time schools are staging grand productions with international guests which means the audience now expects more, particularly from our national school for ballet.