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Preview: Nocturne

Virat Nehru went to Nocturne and was enthralled. And seduced.

Ambitiously conceived and visually seductive, Nøcturne is an affair to remember.

A collaboration between the Movement And Dance Society (MADSOC) and the Sydney University Gymnastics Club, Nøcturne tells the story of two lovers, Maia and Caleb, astutely performed by Simon Crawley and Anthea Paton. Things do not bode well for our lovers, as the Lady in Red (played with plenty of sass by Ashton Sly) attempts to seduce Caleb through a spell that only works during the night.

The narrative arc progresses through a variety of dance styles and gymnastic performances. There is lyrical hip hop and acrobatics, with classical waltz contrasted by the saucy frisson of zouk (a dance style which has influences of lambada).

Modern contemporary dance is interspersed with tap and an athletic hand-balancing act.

This truly is a potpourri of unexpectedly pleasant surprises – the fusion of these different dance and gymnastic styles is a mesmerisingly novel concept.

Khairil A Musa is the artistic director who brought this original production to life. He wrote, directed, selected most of the music, and is the head choreographer. Did I mention that he is also a medical student? He is complemented by producer Long Nguyen who has had a long affiliation with MADSOC. Choregraphic credits also go to Satoko Doi, Simon Crawley, Amie Liebowitz, Mark Agbuya, Emma Hickey, and Anmol Mishra. It’s safe to say that they burnt my overachieving ego on the charcoal grill of awe inspiring talent.

One of my personal highlights was the seductive dance sequence, infused with a fiery sauciness by Ashton Sly, making the Lady in Red deviously entertaining. Another highlight was the enthralling performance of the acrobatic trio.

The four lead dancers – Simon Crawley, Anthea Paton, Ashton Sly, and the night queen Satoko Doi are classically trained. The lines and extensions were perfect, the pirouettes dazzling, and firm, the leaps high and committed, and the lifts effortless.

If this isn’t enough, all the proceeds from the ticket sales will go to a not-for-profit organisation called Girls From Oz, which aims to develop performing arts amongst young people, particularly in Indigenous communities.