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quote…Matthews has created a stunner… a growing international reputation and for good reason.

                                                                                                                       – Paula Citron, Globe and Mail (More)

Paula Citron, in Globe and Mail, June 19, 2008:

 

Veer is a world premiere. Matthews originally choreographed the duet for Tina Pereira and Keiichi Hirano to be performed as a competition piece for the Erik Bruhn Prize in March, 2007. Hirano injured himself during that fateful evening and the piece had to be put on the back burner.

 

This gala is the first opportunity to trot it out and Matthews has created a stunner. A graduate of the National Ballet School, she became a star at Alberta Ballet. She is now a full-time choreographer with a growing international reputation and for good reason. Veer conveys all the suppleness, charisma and dramatic expression she radiated as a dancer.

 

Pereira and Hirano wear designer Caroline O'Brien's matching black leotard briefs. Lightingmeister Christopher Dennis has given the stage a dark and moody look to match Franghiz Ali-Zadeh's edgy, nervous music.

 

If the title is a signpost, Matthews has depicted a volatile relationship that has taken a sudden change of direction. The woman seems to be backing away, while the man is relentless in stating his dominance. Matthews manages to convey this through partnering filled with manipulation as Hirano orchestrates Pereira's physical positioning.

 

A constant throughline is Hirano offering his hand as an invitation or a command. Pereira always takes it to begin another sequence of what can only be described as wraparound lifts where her body is forced to encircle Hirano. The movement is snaky and sensual with huge extensions as Pereira's legs go to a 6 o'clock formation and Hirano performs deep lunges.

 

The abrupt climax is Pereira's complete collapse as Hirano holds her by her arms and she slumps to the floor. The dénouement is inevitable as Pereira succumbs to moving in complete harmony. Her veer, as it were, will have to wait for another day. Matthews has managed to show off these two talented dancers to their best advantage. There is no waste in her choreography and every movement is filled with meaning.

 

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monas 10 - Sabrina Matthews
monas - Genée International Ballet Competition

Sabrina Matthews

Photograph by Bruce Zinger, Courtesy of the Royal Academy of Dance