(2021) BALLET NOIR, what becomes of the broken-hearted In the exhilarating whirl of Auckland eclectia and creativity that is the city’s upcoming Elemental Festival, one stand-out is Mary-Jane O’Reilly’s uber elegant uber dark Ballet Noir, tag lined ‘what becomes of the broken-hearted’. Based on a very warmly received preview performance in Auckland Art Gallery’s North Atrium in 2019 the work caught the eye of the Festival team when offered it as a full work by O’Reilly and co-creative Phil O’Reilly. Fluidly straddling the worlds of classical ballet, contemporary dance and more recently in her hit Edinburgh Fringe Festival neo burlesque work In Flagrante, Mary-Jane is a shape-shifter in the language and story of dance in New Zealand. Where her only rule is it must exhilarate. Drawing on her gift for sizzle and polish Ballet Noir is a fiendishly clever contemporary ballet work that channels the tragi-romantic narrative of the great ballets through the cryptic and edgy lens of 1940s ‘film noir’, with all its greyscale tension and stylish vainglory. A meditation on the mysterious forces of darkness, characters include jaded femmes fatales, a young innocent abroad and two male rivals who’ll go head to head with dance as their weapon. Featuring twelve of Auckland’s finest dancers, Ballet Noir is an exquisite blend of dance, music, filmic imagery and fantasy. Clad in sharply tailored authentic vintage jackets skirts and hats, the dancers inhabit a world of secret rituals, rivalries and power struggles, where salvation only comes with a broken heart. Strictly limited to three performances only.
This worked was performed: Friday July 23rd 8pm, Saturday 24th July matinee 2pm, and evening 8pm. The Bruce Mason Centre, The Promenade, Takapuna, Auckland. 09 309 2677
Jean, the ballet
(1990) A three act ballet on the life of Jean Batten, with a cast of 30 ballet dancer, commissioned for the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company Sesqui celebrations. Premiered at the Aotea Centre for a season, then toured throughout NZ and shown on TVNZ. Original score by Jonathan Besser. Full length evening work.
In 1934, Jean Batten completed a flight from England to New Zealand in a Percival Gull.