Bangarra Dance Theatre: 30 years of sixty five thousand

Bangarra Dance Theatre, Sydney Opera House, June 14 What a marvellous idea to include Jiří Kylián’s Stamping Ground in this celebration of Bangarra’s three decades of dance. It’s a terrifically exciting piece and its presence could be justified simply on artistic grounds. But why now, particularly as Bangarra has never before performed the work of a non-Indigenous…

The Masters Series, Queensland Ballet

Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane, May 17 and 18 (matinee) Old politicians are never the ones who die in battle, are they? Jiří Kylián’s Soldier’s Mass (1980) isn’t the only ballet to illustrate that poignant truth but it is one of the most affecting. With Bohuslav Martinů’s anguished Field Mass (1939) ringing in their ears, 12 young…

Benedicte Bemet’s Giselle

The Australian Ballet, Sydney Opera House, May 8 For many ballet-lovers the second act of Giselle is what brings them back repeatedly and Maina Gielgud’s much-revived production for The Australian Ballet doesn’t let them down. She created it in 1986, which means that more than a few generations of TAB dancers have been schooled in its…

Giselle, The Australian Ballet

Sydney Opera House, May 1 Graeme Murphy fell ill earlier this year and was unable to complete his new ballet, The Happy Prince, in time for its premiere in Melbourne, which was to have been in March. It was then to be performed in Sydney (it is now likely to be seen in 2020). Alexei…

Verve, The Australian Ballet

Sydney Opera House, April 5 The Australian Ballet’s contemporary triple bill Verve, having a Sydney season this year after its premiere in Melbourne last year, presents works from the company’s three resident choreographers, each with a distinctive style that serves the program well. Veteran Stephen Baynes, who has held his post since 1995, is a…

Bonachela/Nankivell/Lane, Sydney Dance Company

Roslyn Packer Theatre, Sydney, March 27 Bonachela/Nankivell/Lane ushers in Sydney Dance Company’s 50th anniversary celebrations with three works that foreground the dancers. There are appealing but unpretentious costumes and no sets. There are bodies in motion, music and lights, although perhaps a few more blackouts than desirable on one night. The relative simplicity could be seen as…

Dangerous Liaisons, Queensland Ballet

Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane, March 23. Dangerous Liaisons is not suitable for children, advises Queensland Ballet. Too true. Sex is the currency in this world and there’s a lot of it. In the first few minutes of Liam Scarlett’s new ballet a couple copulates on a coffin, setting the tone for what’s to come. When…

Sydney Dance Company, New Breed 2018

Carriageworks, Sydney, November 29. Holly Doyle’s sweet, sad, funny, goofy, utterly captivating Out, Damned Spot! is exactly why Sydney Dance Company’s New Breed exists and why it works. Doyle doesn’t have an extensive choreographic resumé but did have a big hit in this year’s annual season of short new works. She has an original voice worth nurturing….

Forever & Ever, Sydney Dance Company

Roslyn Packer Theatre, Sydney, October 18. Antony Hamilton says his new work for Sydney Dance Company developed from thoughts about order, chaos, human nature and popular culture. And yes, you can see that (a state of grace that, alas, is not always the case with choreographers’ program notes). But Hamilton’s ideas are for pondering afterwards. In…

Dark Emu, Bangarra Dance Theatre

Sydney Opera House, June 16. Bangarra Dance Theatre, 30 years old next year, has spent its existence opening doors to this country’s ancient past. The audience – a wildly enthusiastic one each time I’ve attended during those three decades – has its knowledge of our First Nations history and culture enlarged on every occasion. I…