Four Romeos and four Juliets at The Australian Ballet, October and December 2022

The return of John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet to The Australian Ballet after nearly 20 years is a reminder of how few narrative ballets surpass it for range and complexity. Cranko’s version of Shakespeare’s tragedy, made in 1962 for Stuttgart Ballet, has been in TAB’s repertoire since 1974 and until 2003 was staged relatively regularly. Not all…

Instruments of Dance, The Australian Ballet, Sydney Opera House, November 10, 2022

Australian audiences know Wayne McGregor from Dyad 1929, made in 2009 as part of The Australian Ballet’s Ballets Russes celebration; Chroma, choreographed in 2006 and brought into the repertoire in 2014; and Infra, staged by TAB in 2017 but dating from 2008. Obsidian Tear, the opening work in the Instruments of Dancetriple bill, is not that Wayne McGregor. Absent is…

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…

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…

Murphy: The Australian Ballet

Sydney Opera House, April 6 (evening) and 11 (matinee). It would have been the easiest thing in the world to give Graeme Murphy a conventional gala to celebrate his 50 years of association with The Australian Ballet, the company he joined as a member of the corps de ballet in 1968. The idea for the…

David Hallberg, The Sleeping Beauty

The Australian Ballet, Brisbane, February 25 When David Hallberg returned to the ballet stage in Sydney in November last year, in Coppélia with The Australian Ballet, he was coming out of a two-and-a-half year layoff due to injury, the last 12 months of which he spent in Melbourne working with TAB’s medical team. The choice…

Coppélia, The Australian Ballet

Benedicte Bemet (Swanilda) and Brett Chynoweth (Franz), Sydney Opera House, December 3 (matinee). There are no dancers in The Australian Ballet today that interest me more than Benedicte Bemet and Brett Chynoweth, she a soloist and he a senior artist. No matter where they are on stage or in what role, it’s as if there’s…

Symphony in C: The Australian Ballet

Sydney Opera House, April 29. Symphony in C is one of George Balanchine’s grandest and most cherished pronouncements on the classical tradition. It features a strict hierarchy that cascades down from principals and soloists to an all-female corps and ends in exhilarating fashion with more than 40 dancers onstage – a number at the lower…

Swan Lake: Sydney summing up

The Australian Ballet, Sydney, March 31, April 2, April 5, April 16. The Australian Ballet will undoubtedly stick with Stephen Baynes’s 2012 production of Swan Lake – now being revived for the first time – for many a year to come. It has sold out 21 performances at the Sydney Opera House and a check…