Pilbara embraces WA Ballet

WA Ballet dancers with local performers. Picture: Sergey Pevnev
WA Ballet dancers with local performers. Picture: Sergey Pevnev

WA Ballet never shies from a challenge.

So when invited by the City of Karratha to present its Embraceable You production in the Pilbara, it happily accepted.

The exclusive event on Saturday night was performed under the stars on the beach at Hearson’s Cove in Murujuga National Park, close to the Burrup rock art.

The program included works from the George Balanchine season at His Majesty’s Theatre in May, following the curtain raiser of Celestial Bodies, choreographed by Amy Wiseman and performed by 11 local dancers.

“Surprisingly, there are five dance schools in Karratha (three of them ballet schools) so there was plenty of talent eager to participate in this event,” WA Ballet chief executive Steven Roth said.

Creating a theatre on sand proved difficult but not impossible and involved everything from dressing room marquees to several generators to power the site, including the company’s heated stage floor.

“It was a tremendous success – capacity was 800 and we exceeded that,” Roth said.

“It was a starry night and the site had been beautifully lit, including the surrounding rocky outcrops.

“The only hiccup was the main generator going down half way through the performance throwing everything into darkness.

“The backup generator was fired up and gave us enough light to entertain the audience with some off-the-cuff repartee whilst the technicians sorted out the problem.”

Roth said audience members included Bryan Brown and the director and crew of film, Blue Dog.

“Bryan was a terrific guy to meet and he seemed to really enjoy the performance,” he said.

“It was a pretty amazing response from the people of the Pilbara. I think we’ll be going back.”