BWW Review: SATORI at Artscape Opera House a Captivating Trilogy of Ballet Prowess
SATORI opened Cape Town City Ballet's Spring Season this past weekend at Artscape Opera House. The limited run presents a trilogy of works presented by the CTCB that includes two that are newly staged as well as an original commissioned work from an international choreographer. True to its meaning of "enlightenment", SATORI is a refreshing offering from the local company following SLEEPING BEAUTY.
The first piece in SATORI is Concerto Barocco. Out of the trio, I would argue that this is the most "classical" in its presentation while also adding nuances of jazz and contemporary styles throughout. Lacking in an intricate plot, set or costuming, the focus is entirely on George Balanchine's choreography and the effortless manner in which CTCB pulls it off.
On stage for the entirety of Concerto Barocco, the corps de ballet spends an impressively stable amount of time on pointe during this piece, and creates an architecturally pleasing support for who is credited as the First and Second Violin. At Sunday's matinee, the leads worked well together in exemplifying elegance as well as power. Ivan Boonzaaier as Man displayed effortless integration into the female-led piece. Set to Bach's Double Violin Concerto in D Minor, I found the overall effect of Concerto Barocco quite moving.
Michelle Reed's Sheeple is entirely unforgettable as SATORI'S second act - making it the most thought-provoking of the three. It opens in stark contrast to the classical music of the act before, and the effect of the 20-something strong company on stage all at once is arresting. The innovative piece speaks to society's tendency to follow the pack with dancers in indistinguishable costuming and parallel choreography. Kristin Wilson was magnetic in this piece and stands out (rightfully so) physically as well as in her dance ability. The overall flow of Sheeple is captivating and the cohesion created in the piece is stunning.
Completing the triple bill, SATORI ends with Polarity from UK choreographer Kenneth Tindall as a display of interconnection and dualism. The separate presentations throughout form an immersive whole as well as show off the talents and athleticism of male and female dancers in unison and in comparison. Particularly memorable from this choreography was a pas de deux by Bradley Van Heerden and Leane Theunissen whose chemistry was electric. Polarity's sudden ending leaves you wanting more, while also being glad the CTCB dancers finally can take a breather from this high-stamina production.
Polarity is aptly titled due to its effective use of light and shadow as designed by Wilhelm Disbergen. Disbergen's design can be truly appreciated in this piece, but it should also be mentioned that his design throughout the entirety of SATORI creates an ambience in each moment that draws one closer to the works at hand.
I shall admit I am not well versed enough in ballet technique and refinement to appreciate the true artistry of the three dances that make up SATORI. But - even to the untrained eye - the beauty, innovation and mastery of CTCB's latest offering is an awe-inspiring feat.
Photo credit: Paul Seaby
SATORI will be performed at the Artscape Opera House until 9 November. Tickets cost from R150 to R300. Bookings can be made at Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.com or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet.