Derek Dean’s Strictly Gershwin premiere’s in Brisbane

The Queensland Ballet and Queensland Performing Arts Centre presented the Australian premier of Derek Dean’s Strictly Gershwin.

Together, Queensland Ballet and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre delivered a series of extraordinary performances that paid tribute to the jazz age, the 1920’s post World War I movement where jazz music and dance styles came about.

Strictly Gershwin brought to life the movement that emerged before the Great Depression, particularly in the United States, Britain and France.

The performance explored how the movement contributed to wider cultural changes in the 1920’s and the current influence on pop culture.

The dazzling production also gained influence from the roaring twenties, the glamour and style of Hollywood and the theatrics, charm and brilliance of Broadway.

Under the guidance of Queensland Ballet’s Artistic Director Li Cunxin, more than 60 dancers used ballet, tap sequences Choreographed by Bill Simpson, ballroom and jazz to tell stories from the silver screen.

The dancers performed in harmony with leading vocalists, including Australian star Rachel Beck, to present Busby Berkley inspired routines.

Conducted by Gareth Valentine, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra brought nostalgia to the audience with blues and jazz.

Songs paid tribute to the big band era of the thirties while including Shall We Dance, Rhapsody in Blue, I’ve Got Rhythm, matched with spectacular costumes that resemble the glitz and glamour of the 1920’s.

Designed by Roberta Guidi Di Bagno, the costumes in act one adapted traditional ballet attire to present magnificent glimmering styles for Broadway while act two showcased timeless classics and black and whites for Hollywood.

Strictly Gershwin was an incredible collaborative production, bringing Brisbane the best that music, dance and theatre has to offer.

Strictly Gershwin. Images by David Kelly.

Details: Derek Dean’s Strictly Gershwin | Queensland Ballet and Queensland Performing Arts Centre | Lyric Theatre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre | 27 May to 4 June 2015 | sold out performances