The stars were on the stage as well as in the sky as the annual outdoor season of Ballet at the Quarry opened last night.
But a first-night technical glitch caused a 45-minute disruption to the show when anti-moisture heating panels beneath the floor had to be repaired after the first act.
The dancers were at risk of dangerously slipping during their performance in the very high humidity, which reached 98 per cent according to one report. The under-floor panels help keep the floor dry and offset an unusually high dew point.
As technicians worked on the problem WA Ballet artistic director Ivan Cavallari entertained the crowd with a few jokes and invited audience members to come up and tell stories. Quarry founder and leasding Perth dance figure Dianna Waldron gave a history of the venue, which opened in 1986.
The delay dampened an otherwise celebratory air in the first production in the WA Ballet’s 60th anniversary year.
This is the last Quarry season for Cavallari, who returns to Europe at the end of the year to join Ballet du Rhin in Alsace after five years in Perth.
"This year, my dancers and I will try to have a good time," Cavallari said before the performance.
The 60th anniversary milestone gave the company much to look forward to as it prepared to move into its new home, the $12 million WA Ballet Centre in the heritage-listed former Blind Institute in Maylands, he said.
The Quarry program, part of the Perth International Arts Festival, had a very specific Australian nature, as befitted the venue, interspersed with works by major international choreographers, Cavallari said.
"We are still going with a versatile formula in which we present neo-classical and quite classical ballet to a little bit more contemporary work. I like to have different styles for everyone to enjoy."
On the bill alongside Serenade, George Balanchine’s 1934 first American ballet, was one of Cavallari’s own dance works and pieces from WA expatriate Reed Luplau, now based in New York, and Munich-based Australian choreographer Terence Kohler.
The opening-night celebrities were thinner among the capacity audience than usual because many of WA Ballet’s usual guests had headed down to this weekend’s annual concert at Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River.
Ballet at the Quarry runs until March 3.