Freelance choreographer Wubkje Kuindersma, who has been a Young Creative Associate with Dutch National Ballet since 2021 is, she says, drawn to Vincent van Gogh because of his tempestuous inner life, his loneliness and passionate desire to reach out to people through his art. In West Australian Ballet’s echoes of VAN GOGH she has created a gently sympathetic biography resonant with these themes.

echoes of VAN GOGH

Ludovico Di Ubaldo as Vincent Van Gogh in echoes of VAN GOGH, West Australian Ballet, 2023. Photo © Bradbury Photography

The show opens with Vincent (Ludovico Di Ubaldo) standing alone in front of a huge curved screen at the back of the stage, which features his pale blue and grey early paintings of scenes in Auvers-sur-Oise. He’s joined later by his brother Theo (Juan Carlos Osma) and they commence what will become a constant motif; a crouched torso leaning forward and backward as though tossed through turbulent storms. Their long-lined touching duets combine intense embraces which herald Theo’s unconditional love and Van Gogh’s inability to completely rid himself of his insecurities.

Nonetheless, this opening is rather underwhelming possibly because when we think of Van Gogh,...