Soirée 2023: Dance, art and music collide

Two ballet dancers performing together
Image: Supplied

For the third year in a row, Queensland Ballet Academy invites audiences to Soirée 2023.

A dazzling fusion of art, dance, and live music in collaboration with Philip Bacon Galleries, from 19-21 October. Michael Zavros’ work returns to Soirée 2023 as the inspiration for it’s two choreographers, Paul Boyd and Natalie Weir. QNews chats with choreographer Paul Boyd about what he and Natalie have in store for Soirée!

Michael Zavros’ art inspires choreography 

Paul and Natalie welcome you to the House of Devine Decadence for this year’s Soirée. A world inspired by the high-fashion and hyper-realistic paintings of Australian artist, Michael Zavros. Delivering to you a showcase of fashion and beauty, but where the corrupting presence of personified narcissism, ego and vanity lie in wait.

“A young muse comes to the stage and is caught up in the environment of the fashion world,” Paul introduces. “I’m using the auditorium as a runway” Paul continues, explaining how utilising lighting and set design to transform the Talbot Theatre into the House of Devine Decadence. “I’ve looked into a lot of Alexander McQueen, and I was amazed by the absurdity and absolute brilliance and beauty of the whole thing. So, I took in that area.”


White Peacock and Charmer

Because everything in Soirée is inspired by pieces Paul and Natalie select from Zavros’ exhibition, this results in unimaginable choreography. “I don’t really make a step without the art being in my head,” Paul begins, explaining to us how integral the art is to Soirée. “The dancing wouldn’t exist without the art,” Paul continues, detailing the unlikely inspiration behind Zavros’ White Peacock . “It’s a skeleton covered in gladiolus, and I would never have put a dancer in a skeleton costume and had all the other dancers in gladiolus, but because that’s what the art dictated, I could do something with this.”

Other pieces of Zavros’ which Paul chose as inspiration includes a series titled Charmer; hyper-realistic paintings of designer neckties, posed as cobras. “I’ve chosen two Gucci, a Versace and a Yves Saint Lauren” Paul lists, which have inspired not just the costumes (which are made from neckties), but the themes of the story. Detailing the poisonous traps of narcissism, ego, and vanity in the fashion industry, brought to life through dance, costume and character.

What to expect at Soirée

Performed by Queensland Ballet Academy’s Pre-Professional Program dancers, Paul explains that these dancers are on the brink of entering the profession. As a result, Soirée has become a write of passage of sorts. “They’re stepping into situations and choreography that are different from what we usually require from them.” Soirée therefore pushes these dancers to explore and expand on traditional ballet. Performing contemporary dance forms inspired by art and live music, which both literally share the stage with the dancers.

“I think the most exciting part of the Soirée is the fusion of the dance, the music and the art.” Paul explains, “and it’s all live!”. Performed to a collage of Zavros’ art, Queensland Ballet Academy will be accompanied by Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra – performing live. “You bring in different audiences, “Paul continues. “Someone may be super interested in the art, so you’re introducing them to dance, and beautiful live music.”

2023’s Soirée will be presented 19-21 October at the Talbot Theatre, located in the Thomas Dixon Centre, West End. Soirée will showcase a unique expression of art, dance, music, fashion, and performance. Make sure to book your tickets to Soirée 2023 now.

More to read:

Review: Derek Deane’s Strictly Gershwin by Queensland Ballet

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