Earlier this year saw Matthew Hindson's ballet Faster receive its Australian premiere, staged by The Australian Ballet. Choreographed by David Bintley, the ballet enjoyed a ten-day run of the one act work in Melbourne, before moving to Sydney Opera House in April, as part of a triple bill.
Bintley and Hindson's second ballet together, Faster toured the UK with Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2012 and has since been staged in Tokyo by New National Theatre Ballet. A celebration of athleticism and endurance, Hindson, Bintley and The Australian Ballet have been highly praised.
'The Australian Ballet's new triple bill, Faster, exemplifies the pace and complexity of 2017 life. It also offers audiences a chance to pause and appreciate a display of incredible physicality, deep intelligence and pure emotion - elements that can get lost in our hyper-connected, 24-7, technology driven world.
Opening act Faster celebrates the immense capabilities of the human form. It was first created for the Birmingham Royal Ballet by choreographer David Bintley in 2012, and was inspired by the 'Faster, Higher, Stronger' motto of the London Olympics. The piece emulates a variety of sports from high jump to basketball, and culminates in a 'marathon' with every dancer sprinting to the finish.
Ballet imitating sport could have been a gimmick. However, thanks to the dynamic allegro (jumps), soaring partner work, and display of sheer endurance as the dancers kept pace with Matthew Hindson's frenetic score, it was elevated to mastery.'
Daily Review (Melinda Oliver), 20th March 2017
'Hindson's work for Faster is dazzingly brilliant, pointillist and exact, and provides much of the acceleration that drives the piece.'
Time Out (Tim Byrne), 20th March 2017
'IF ballet were an Olympic sport, it’s hard to imagine it could ever be more athletic, challenging or thrilling than in the Australian Ballet’s title work Faster of its latest triple bill.
Or, it has to be said, simply exhausting.
[…] Artistic director David McAllister felt this was the perfect piece for such a sports-loving nation, and he was right. Judging purely by the number of men in the audience, it’s a production that’s likely to lure a whole new set of supporters to the ballet.
Choreographed by Brit David Bintley with music by Australian composer Matthew Hindson, no one could fail to be moved by the sheer physical prowess and stamina of the dancers in what must be one of their most challenging words of modern times.
[…] But there were also moments of delicious humour. The display of synchronized ‘swimming’ was much more entertaining out of water than the real thing in, there were some wonderfully comedic running scenes with everyone on stage changing pace at exactly the same time and Ben Davis almost stole the show as the lone walker mincing across the stage, looking anxiously behind him.
As the late Norman May would undoubtedly have said, “Gold, gold, gold.” '
The Daily Telegraph (Sue Williams), 10th April 2017
'The Australian Ballet’s contemporary offering for 2017 is a triple bill called Faster that aims to showcase the “intoxicating physical power of ballet”. Indeed, the physicality of the dancers takes centre stage as we see them tackle intricate, challenging and often quick choreography across the three pieces.
It’s a pleasure to watch skilled technicians hard at work. Each choreographer pushes the dancers to new limits in very different ways. And while these differences are problematic for the programme as a whole, Faster offers enough reasons to appreciate the sophistication and allure of contemporary ballet and those who perform it.
[…] Driving the piece is Australian composer Matthew Hindson’s commissioned score, which seeks to match the drama played out on stage. The music and choreography most effectively marry in the final movement where the dancers, decked out in fluorescent Lycra and sneakers, perform a rhythmic running sequence based on the altimate Olympic event: the marathon.'
Limelight Magazine (Rhys Ryan), 3rd April 2017
'Created in the lead-up to the London Olympic Games of 2012, Bintley's Faster is a whirlwind of dances shaped by running, gymnastics, synchronized swimming, fencing, and basketball, with a rollicking, multifaceted score by Matthew Hindson. It is also a traditionally English festive work, sometimes cute, sometimes slightly camp. One scene is tense reflecting the fear of injury, the pain of failure, and the inability to console. A dramatic pas de deux exquisitely explores these deeper feelings with the finesse of a Verdi duet.'
ABR Arts (Lee Christofis), 20th March 2017
'With a dynamic score composed by Matthew Hindson each duet, trio, or small groups were able to represent the various Olympic sports providing comic relief, but also a different way for the body to move. It was clear to see which group of sports were represented as the abstract movements were used in a symbolic way rather than a literal recreation. With a stand out pas de deux exploring the fragility of injury, and a jaw-dropping final running piece with the whole company it is clear to see the potential for where future ballet works can go. Nothing is off limits because realistically, who would ever have thought that an Olympic based ballet would transcend?! Dance is sport, so this is the perfect reflection of that.'
The AU (Kara Bertoncini), 26th March 2017