New York Dialects, The Australian Ballet

Sydney Opera House, April 6 and 21, 2021 The Australian Ballet returned to the stage in February with Summertime at the Ballet – a Melbourne-only gala celebration after last year’s disappointments. New York Dialects was something else entirely; a manifesto really. This was new artistic director David Hallberg saying this is me and this is where I…

Keir Choreographic Award finals, Sydney

Carriageworks, Sydney, March 13. It’s often the case that alarm bells start ringing when an artist writes a highly detailed program note explaining precisely what their contemporary dance piece means. Frequently it’s just not possible to see in the work what the choreographer claims. There’s a big disconnect. In the case of Angela Goh, though,…

Trois Grandes Fugues, Lyon Opera Ballet

Festival Theatre, Adelaide, March 7. The idea is transfixing. Three of the greatest 20th century contemporary choreographers come to grips with Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue, a monumentally knotty piece of music first performed in 1876, the year before the composer died, and far from an obvious choice for a dancemaker. This Lyon Opera Ballet program came…

Michael Keegan-Dolan’s MÁM

Teac Damsa, Heath Ledger Theatre, Perth Festival, February 27 One definition of the West Kerry word mám is yoke and another is obligation or duty but that’s only the beginning of its possibilities. There are also implications of dealing with difficult physical terrain and having a handful of something. On the surface it’s a stern and…

David Hallberg named next artistic director of The Australian Ballet

On December 4 last year David Hallberg tweeted that he’d loved revisiting The Sleeping Beauty at the Royal Opera House but “there is a very good chance it was my last”. And so it probably was. Today the 37-year-old American superstar was announced as the next artistic director of The Australian Ballet – its eighth….

The Happy Prince, The Australian Ballet

Choreographed by Graeme Murphy, adapted from Oscar Wilde by Murphy and Kim Carpenter. Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane, February 25. Graeme Murphy’s The Happy Prince was to have premiered last year but illness intervened and the choreographer wasn’t able to complete the ballet in time. The Australian Ballet quickly rescheduled it to open the 2020…

Ballet at the Quarry: Light and Shadow, West Australian Ballet

Quarry Amphitheatre, Perth, February 7 A woman climbs, higher and higher, on a path made by the bodies of other dancers. Later she will descend and fall, but her head will be caught by an enigmatic figure in black. Here, and at every point in Graeme Murphy’s deeply affecting Air and Other Invisible Forces, there are…

Grand Finale, Hofesh Shechter Company

Sydney Opera House, January 31. Death is ever-present in Hofesh Shechter’s deeply moving Grand Finale, and so is an unquenchable lust for life. The two conditions are irrevocably twinned. We are born and we die, of that much we can be certain. As anyone who has seen earlier Shechter works will know, the Israeli-born choreographer is…

Colossus, Stephanie Lake Company

Carriageworks, Sydney Festival, January 16 The short Sydney Festival season of Stephanie Lake’s Colossus has ended but the show is by no means over. Next month it will be seen at the Perth Festival and very likely beyond. Lake has said there are possible international engagements to come. Colossus premiered at the Melbourne Fringe in 2018…

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 &…