Choreographer Natalie Weir has an ingenious ability to combine eloquence of movement with dramatic tension, thereby creating the spellbinding storytelling we all atavistically crave. In Goldberg Variations, she explores the trials of a man tormented by insomnia (Oscar Valdés) and the magic and grief of his past loves.

Juan Carlos Osma, Ludovico Di Ubaldo and dancers of the West Australian Ballet in Goldberg Variations. Photo © Bradbury Photography

Apocryphal or not, Johann Sebastian Bach is said to have composed his Goldberg Variations, to which Weir’s work is set, for a Prince of his day with just such a problem. The dulcet inflections of Bach’s 32 variations, so glowingly interpreted by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, lend themselves to Weir’s know-how and prowess, and to the effortless physical agility of the West Australia Ballet’s dancers, who were on fire and made this 70-minute performance a sensational mix of outstanding choreography and balletic finesse.   

Top marks to set and costume designer Bruce McKinven, who obviously knows when less is more. He used nothing but sheer white material to frame and shadow the action, giving a dream-like quality...