On Centre Stage: Lest We Forget. Queensland Ballet

On Centre Stage.

Lest We Forget
By Douglas Kennedy

Lest We Forget. Queensland Ballet. The QTC’s Playhouse Theatre until August 6. Choreographers Ma Cong, Natalie Weir & Paul Taylor.

The Queensland Ballet’s latest main house production, Lest We Forget, is a truly inspirational trio of works which deserves to be seen nationally and could easily play overseas.
Artistic director Li Cunxin has come up with what must surely count among his most celebrated productions with the company.
Li’s genius in his post-dancing years is to bring ideas and people together under one umbrella and Lest We Forget is a brilliant example of that.
As the title suggests the show’s theme is war but very much from the human perspective that explores its effect on ordinary people as they cope with fear, loss, grief, pride and bravery in life and death.
In war there’s two distinct groups of people – those who go to fight and those left behind – and traditionally they exist along defined gender lines.
Expressions Dance Company
In the first work, In the Best Moments, choreographed by Ma Cong we are exposed to raw passion as the ensemble expresses human emotions in somber grey to The Hours Suit by Phillip Glass.
The couples take the audience on a spellbinding journey from darkness and despair to the dawn, which brings hope and light, through to the final challenge when the community has to rebuild when war is done.
In We Who Are Left, danced to the music of Benjamin Britten’s The War Requiem and featuring Latin text couple with Wilfred Owen’s poetry, choreographer Natalie Weir weaves a narrative of leaving.
Young men leave their loved ones behind and go to war where some are killed and a few are left to return and pick up the pieces.
Weir symbolsies the women’s sense of loss with discarded boots which more chilling on stage than the idea might be on paper.
There’s a profound sadness watching a sad widow or girlfriend standing beside her loved one’s boots while he’s left behind on the battle field.
The final – and most joyous – piece comes from US choreographer Paul Taylor’s Company B and celebrates the wartime music of The Andrews Sisters.
It is upbeat jive – featuring songs such as Bei Mir Bist Du Schon, Pennsylvania Polka, Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, Oh! and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of company B) – which allows the youngsters to simply kick up their heels.
It is if they are saying war is out there somewhere but we are young and free and we are not going to let it wear us down.
A great show. A great two hours in the theatre.

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