Hansel & Gretel, Royal New Zealand Ballet

Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Auckland, December 5. It is no small thing to make a full-length narrative ballet that wins its place in a company’s repertoire. Many are attempted and many end up as red lines on a balance sheet unless sets and costumes can be sold or repurposed. Most happily, Loughlan Prior’s Hansel &…

New Breed, Sydney Dance Company

Carriageworks, Sydney, December 6 The mysteries of dance and dancemaking are great. What drives the need to watch this person closely and not that one? Why does a work speak to something deep within while another is superficially entertaining? How is it that one is engaged intellectually and emotionally with one piece of dance while…

The Nutcracker, The Australian Ballet

Sydney Opera House, November 30. The Australian Ballet doesn’t have an annual tradition of presenting The Nutcracker, although on present indications it could. The ballet doesn’t have as tight a grip on the public (or companies’ bottom lines) as it does in the United States but this year’s Nutcracker was pretty much sold out before…

Expressions Dance Company becomes Australian Dance Collective

Brisbane’s Expressions Dance Company has a new name to go with its new leadership. Amy Hollingsworth, who became artistic director of EDC at the beginning of 2019, announced at her 2020 season launch that the 35-year-old contemporary company will be known as Australian Dance Collective. Hollingsworth is the third artistic director in the company’s history,…

ALICE (in wonderland), West Australian Ballet

His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth, November 21. Septime Webre’s ALICE (in wonderland) was made in 2012 for Washington Ballet, where he was artistic director from 1999 to 2016, and shortly after was snapped up by a host of regional American ballet companies. Hong Kong Ballet, which Webre now leads, staged ALICE last year. Now West Australian…

Bespoke, Queensland Ballet

Brisbane Powerhouse, November 9. This year’s Bespoke triple bill could hardly be more diverse. It starts with neo-classicism and finishes with emotions, memories and personalities to the fore. In between the two is a work that insists dancers and audiences go well beyond their comfort zone and deliberately defies easy analysis. That work in the…

Matrix, Expressions Dance Company and Beijing Dance/LTDX

Works by Stephanie Lake and Ma Bo. Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, NSW, November 7. New works by Australia’s Stephanie Lake and China’s Ma Bo make up a double bill where similarities are much more obvious than differences. It’s not that the pieces look particularly alike (apart from an aspect of their endings) or have a…

Sylvia, The Australian Ballet

Sydney Opera House, November 8 The dash for bathrooms and bars was substantially less frantic than usual after the close of Act I of Stanton Welch’s Sylvia. Heads everywhere bowed over their synopsis sheets. What in the name of all the gods in Ancient Greece was going on? How does one show via ballet that Artemis…

Bonachela/Obarzanek, Sydney Dance Company

Roslyn Packer Theatre, Sydney, November 2 What better way to mark a milestone birthday than by getting some of the old gang back together again? Gideon Obarzanek’s Us 50, choreographed for Sydney Dance Company’s 50th anniversary program, returned to the stage some of SDC’s most memorable artists, among them Bradley Chatfield, Wakako Asano, Sheree da…

Queensland and West Australian ballet companies of one mind in 2020

Queensland Ballet announced its 2020 season in mid-September; West Australian Ballet in this past week. The nation’s leading state ballet companies are different in scale and usually in repertoire but their seasons next year have some striking similarities. West Australian Ballet offers a repeat season of Krzysztof Pastor’s full-length Dracula in September 2020 after its…