Posted by Melanie Dimmitt
11. Jun, 2014
Australian Ballet’s Andrew Killian probably never imagined he’d be spinning and sauté-ing to the riffs of The White Stripes. But since The Royal Ballet’s notoriously ambitious choreographer Wayne McGregor brought his contemporary Chroma to our shores, the principle dancer has been doing just that.
“It’s definitely a new experience,” says Andrew, enjoying a rare “slow” week in the lead up to the Melbourne premiere. It’s been a tough slog in Sydney, not to mention the rehearsal studio, with McGregor’s gruelling choreography to contend with.
While the classics may permit the odd relieving, postured pause, the man with leading roles in Manon, Don Quixote and The Nutcracker under his tights has found this material to be particularly challenging. “It’s very physical,” Andrew says, “and it’s not everyday ballet – we put our bodies into positions and
shapes that aren’t regular to us.”
Stripped back to bare legs on a naked stage, Chroma does away with the traditional tutu-trimmings, leaving its dancers (and their terrifically taut forms) exposed with “nowhere to hide”. It’s a feeling that Andrew finds refreshing, and as for the unorthodox musical score, is quick to exclaim – “it’s amazing!”
A fan of the White Stripes, perchance? “I definitely am now,” he says, describing the soundtrack as a larger orchestral version of the rock duo’s popular repertoire. “It’s a different kind of music to what we’re used to, and it’s nice to change it up.”
Despite being stretched to both physical and mental extremes, Andrew has found the vivacious, visceral program to be “quite grounding”, but it’s sure to hurtle audiences into fantastical, foreign territory.
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