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Theatre Royal, Sydney, August 30, 2022 She was sitting in the front row of the Theatre Royal stalls, which means she was practically onstage. The young woman was on her own, applauding like mad when she wasn’t paying rapt attention. Her hairstyle featured two little bunches on the top of her head just like those…

The Phantom of the Opera

Sydney Opera House, August 26, 2022 One of the stranger side effects of Covid has been Opera Australia’s double dip into The Phantom of the Opera. First up was the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour extravaganza directed by Simon Phillips earlier this year. Now a new production – new to Australia, at least – has taken…

INDance, independent dance at Sydney Dance Company

Neilson Studio, Sydney Dance Company, August 19, 2022 INDance is a new Sydney Dance Company initiative, one in which it shares space and resources with independent dance artists. It’s good for everyone. The SDC audience is encouraged to dip toes into work that might otherwise not be on the radar and the country’s biggest contemporary…

SandSong, Bangarra Dance Theatre

Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House, June 11, 2021 Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following article contains the name of someone who has passed. The family of Ningali Lawford-Wolf has given the media permission to use her name.  Bangarra’s last new work before SandSong was performed in 2019 and celebrated Bangarra’s 30th anniversary. It was…

The Sleeping Beauty, Queensland Ballet

QPAC, Brisbane, June 4, 2021 When Queensland Ballet performed The Sleeping Beauty in 2015, artistic director Li Cunxin cast international superstar Alina Cojocaru as first-night Aurora. She was wonderful of course but it was a sign Li was still in development mode at the company he took over in 2013. A glance at the 2015 program reveals…

THREE, Australasian Dance Collective, Brisbane

Playhouse Theatre, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, May 26, 2021 Amy Hollingsworth’s relief was palpable and profound. THREE had finally arrived. It was 14 months late, but it was here. The triple bill of two new works and an important Australian premiere was to have introduced Hollingsworth’s Australasian Dance Collective to the Brisbane public last year on April…

Counterpointe, The Australian Ballet

Sydney Opera House, April 27, 2021 Does Counterpointe shine an illuminating light on the journey of classical dance from the 19th century to the 20th or is it a mighty clash of opposing forces? The Australian Ballet’s new artistic director, David Hallberg, sees it as the former. The Australian Ballet’s social media ads, on the other hand, frame Counterpointe as a…

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…