Friday the 26th July saw the world premiere of Expressions Dance Companys ‘The Red Shoes’ in the Playhouse at QPAC. Choreographed by the companies artistic director Natalie Weir, the work is based on Hans Christian Andersons gothic fairy tale and integrates original film by Sue Healey along with QPACs resident company of musicians Southern Cross Soloists who perform live on stage with the dancers.
This is a lavish production made all the more expansive by the fact that the wings were pulled away to reveal a cavernous space. The set and costume design all complimented each other by drawing from the art deco era which was when the original film of the same name was shot. To those of you who know the original story, it is ultimately about one womans passion that becomes an obsession and the battle that she undertakes in her life to balance her private life with her artform.
Elise May plays the lead character of Victoria. Elise is always stunning to watch with such clean lines, maturity and heart behind her work. The male leads of the ‘Lover’ (exquisitely danced by Jack Ziesling) and the ‘director’ (danced by Daryl Brandwood) were a perfect juxtaposition as the two influences in Victorias life. Much like the movie this work was a story within a story where we see characters from the pantomime in which she dances becoming blurred and transferring into her reality. So there is a ‘mirror Victoria’, younger Victoria, The Weeping Angel and The Dark Angel along with 1st and 2nd year students from QUTs dance performance degree who complimented some of the scenes.
Visually, The Red Shoes is a stunning piece of art to witness. It appeared that all of the design elements from the set, costumes, lighting, film and music played just as an important role as did the choreography. Each was given equal standing and each complimented to the overall work of THE RED SHOES.
Reviewer: Melissa Lanham
Contemporary Dance Choreographer