Light and dark of mental health expressed in dance


West Australian Ballet was scheduled to start live shows of GENESIS in March but was unfortunately forced to cancel due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Showcasing the twelve part production of short contemporary works on provides an opportunity for everyone around the state to get up close and personal with West Australian Ballet company dancers who choreographed and produced the works rich with emotion, beauty and power.

View part seven below, Emma-Rose Barrowclough’s ‘Soul. Lagom’.

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Over 12 months ago, West Australian Ballet dancer Emma-Rose Barrowclough had experienced some darkness, with two of her close friends dealing with Mental Health issues and Emma being thousands of kilometres away from them and her New Zealand home, in Perth.

Emma, who as well as dancing full-time is completing a Psychology degree, found that while darkness can creep into your mind, a power-shift to the light is paramount.

Fast-forward to March 2020 and when the opportunity to create her first dance work was presented, Emma knew that an exploration into the balance of one’s mind and the power-shift towards happiness and the light in your mind needed to be expressed.

From this ‘Soul. Lagom’ (Swedish for ‘balance’) was born, a piece created on two female dancers, one representing the strong and ferocious darkness, and the other, a soft and humble lightness that grows throughout the piece.

Emma-Rose Barrowclough
Camera IconEmma-Rose Barrowclough Credit: Picture: Frances Andrijich /Supplied by West Australian Ballet

“This piece is really about how you need to find the balance in yourself, my Psychology studies complemented my choreography because I knew that we have to accept that there is darkness in our minds, but we need to control it with the light,” says Barrowclough.

The intense and energetic music was inspired by a scene from The Joker (2019), when Joaquin Phoenix’s character enters the bathroom and dances as a form of expression, however the less classical track was created by Rock/Metal band Tool, with their Grammy-nominated song ‘Fear Inoculum’ providing a dynamic base for the power-shift to play out in the work.

As for the final words about the art-form that she loves, Barrowclough comments on ballet;

“I love that anyone can come to the ballet and be removed from their life for a short time, and be transported to another world.”

Watch the complete programme:

PART ONE: Clare Voss’ ‘A thousand times goodnight’

PART TWO: Carina Roberts’ ‘Tetrad Aminato’

PART THREE: Robert Bruist’s ‘Polarity’

PART FOUR: Chihiro Nomura’s ‘A moment a memory’

PART FIVE: Matej Perunicic’s ‘Uncommon’

PART SIX: Matthew Lehmann’s ‘Behind those beautiful eyes’

PART EIGHT: Adam Alzaim’s ‘Where do I begin?’

PART NINE: Candice Adea’s ‘Litrato’

PART TEN: Christian Luck’s ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’

PART ELEVEN: Polly Hilton’s ‘Alumna’

PART TWELVE: Sandy Delasalle’s ‘Just For Fun’