Mesmerising blend of Bollywood and ballet
SET in 19th century British Raj, La Bayadère exudes an other worldliness and a sense of the exotic.
The opening act at Queensland Ballet's latest production masterfully blends mesmerising and perfectly synchronised Bollywood dance sequences with traditional ballet ensembles.
With incredible sets and lavish costumes to really set the scene, the audience is treated to a story about passion, jealousy and eternal love.
The first act is filled with intrigue and scandal as these emotions take hold and tragedy strikes.
The lead dancers in Friday night's performance - Laura Hidalgo as temple dancer Nikiya and Victor Estevez as Prince Solor - draw awe from the audience with their strong lines and powerful, intricate movements.
Their elegance and exquisite control is a sight to behold as their passion unfolds on stage.
The pair want to elope but Prince Solor's father, the Maharajah of Coch Bihar, has promised his son to Edith, the daughter of the Governor General of India, in a dangerous political game.
Lead temple dancer Kohei Iwamoto wows during the couple's engagement party with his incredible spins and lofty leaps that give the illusion he is suspended in the air.
But when Nikiya dances at the party, the prince can't help but join his lover on the dance floor. Edith sticks the knife in - literally.
The Queensland Symphony Orchestra, under conductor Nigel Gaynor, expertly builds the drama and suspense throughout these passion-filled scenes - using Indian instruments to add a further tantalising dimension.
The second act's dream state is a haunting escape from reality while the third brings home some moral lessons still being battled in some parts of the world - free will and eye for an eye revenge.
But the dream sequence where Prince Solor detaches from reality while drowning his sorrows in an opium den is lacklustre.
A seemingly never-ending steam of ballerinas gracefully make their way down a descending switchback ramp one by one in gorgeous white tutus - 23 in total fill the stage by end.
Seeing that many ballerinas in tutus en pointe is a spectacular sight on any stage. But the ballerina procession, including many trainee dancers, is off-kilter with some intense leg wobbling during synchronised arabesques. This stands out amid the near flawless and seemingly effortless lines from QB's company dancers.
Together with some timing and strength issues on stage, this lets down the synchronisation of such a beautiful scene.
Soloists Teri Crilly, Mia Heathcoate and Yanela Piñera do lift the quality of this scene beyond its shaky start.
And little can take away from Estevez's solo where his soaring leaps and jumps, and precision turns easily impress with the illusion of effortless.
Hidalgo's solo and her pas de deux with Estevez show she is a seasoned performer, her incredible muscle tone ensuring she holds every line longer than should be humanly possible.
Special mention to Lucy Green, who danced Edith, for her breathtaking fouette turns in the final act.
La Bayadère runs for the better part of three hours with three acts and two 20-minute intervals in QPAC's Playhouse theatre. - NewsRegional
WHAT: La Bayadère by Queensland Ballet
WHERE: Playhouse theatre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre
WHEN: Runs until March 31, 2018
TICKETS: Adults $100-$130, Concession $85-$95, Children $55-$70, Family $280-$310.
BOOKINGS: 136 246