Ballet Under the Stars (by Singapore Dance Theatre)

by Tracey Toh

The experience of watching ballet is rarely as affecting and absorbing as in the visual treat offered by Singapore Dance Theatre during the second weekend of Ballet Under The Stars.

The three neoclassical pieces performed were fitting tributes to the rich and extensive heritage of ballet. These choreographies are masterworks, equal parts physical perfection and musical precision. Stripped of elaborate props, costuming and sets, they conveyed a clean and sophisticated aesthetic in execution, throwing the remarkable nuance of the choreography and the virtuosity of the dancers into sharp relief.

Concerto Barocco, the opening number, featured minimal staging, with the dancers outfitted in sleek white leotards to show off their line. As the two principal ballerinas personified the violins in Bach’s soaring score, with their crisp, deft motions matching every strain, George Balanchine’s remark that ballet allows one to “see the music; hear the dance” rang true.

This work in musicality gave way to Goh Choo-San’s Schubert Symphony, a testament to his genius as a world-class choreographer. The most traditional of the night’s repertoire, it was replete with incredible dramatic emphasis and grand, courtly movements.

The ethereal Serenade was in turn a display of athletic grace and feminine beauty so moving, even breathtaking, that one can forgive any fault to be found with individual dancers. With Serenade, SDT has proven that ballet is more than sensory – it is a spiritual experience.