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7 Reasons to see Filigree and Shadow
As part of our contemporary program Verve, we revived the hectic, headlong, menacing Filigree and Shadow by Tim Harbour, one of The Australian Ballet’s three resident choreographers. So what’s it all about?
17 Dec 2015
Reflecting the pace of information in the modern age, Tim’s choreography is fast, dense, multi-focused and intricate. He says, “A lot of the movement sits in the upper body, and the articulation you can get just from using your wrists, fingers, elbows and shoulders. That creates a kind of filigree around the core form of the torso and the legs – those arms create an embroidery around the body.”
Tim describes the work as a “catharsis” for difficult emotions like fear and anger. “There’s a dark imperative to a lot of my emotional intentions [in this piece]. I’ve gone to that vicious, angry, frustrated place to generate some of these movements.” You can feel this force running through the work.
Twelve dancers, throwing their all at this hurtling, complex choreography. It’s exhilarating to watch. Soloist Jill Ogai says of Tim’s work, “I love the raw athleticism and power of his movement.”
The Set: Kelvin Ho
One of the concepts that inspired Tim to make Filigree and Shadow was the way birds survive a cyclone – by flying right into its heart, where they’re funnelled out of the top and into calmer air. Kelvin Ho, one of Australia’s leading interior architects, has interpreted that notion in a dramatically simple curve sitting in a square.
The Costumes: Monochromatic Chic
When Tim created the concept for his ballet’s costumes, his main idea was simplicity and darkness. But we think the high-necked charcoal leotards, worn with black socks and sheer black hosiery (for both women and men), are the height of style.
The Score: 48nord
German guys making electronica might make you picture Kraftwerk … but the score that the duo 48nord have composed especially for Filigree and Shadow sounds more like dramatic film music. Tim says: “It’s almost hyperbolic, it’s just so over the top in its drama. I just think that’s fantastic for theatre. I listen to their music and it makes my pulse quicken.”
Knives, Caves and Carcasses
To inflect the choreography with the feeling he was after, Tim gave the dancers certain images to work with. He asked them to imagine they were confined in a cave or that they were butchers with razor-sharp arms, carving through a vast carcass. This gives the movement “a delicious tangibility”.