David Hallberg in Coppélia

In late November David Hallberg told The New York Times that he wanted to “just step onstage quietly here” – the American dancer was referring to Sydney – “and see what transpires”. Realistically there was never going to be much chance of quiet when Hallberg made his first entrance as Franz in The Australian Ballet’s…

David Hallberg on rehabilitation and returning to the stage in Coppélia

Just after I filed my story to The Australian on David Hallberg’s keenly anticipated return to the stage on December 13, with The Australian Ballet in Sydney, the paper’s deputy editor sent me an email. She simply wrote: “He has amazing feet …” He does indeed. With their dramatic arch and superhuman articulation, they carve…

Houston Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet

State Theatre, Melbourne, June 30 Stanton Welch looked thrilled after the premiere of his Romeo and Juliet in Melbourne, as he should have. The former Australian Ballet dancer and current AB resident choreographer had brought his own company, Houston Ballet, home. In the audience – along with supporters from Houston – was a galaxy of…

Everything old is new again

Metropolitan Opera House, New York, May 29 and May 30. WHEN Serge Diaghilev decided to stage The Sleeping Beauty in London the monumental Russian Imperial-era ballet was not an obvious stablemate for the modernist dance works he had introduced with his Ballets Russes. But Diaghilev had his reasons. There was Tchaikovsky’s music, which he admired…

Odette to the power of four

Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane. August 28, September 3 (matinee), September 3 (evening), September 4. THE first act of Kevin McKenzie’s Swan Lake ends as evening falls. Prince Siegfried has hurried away from his birthday party with no ceremony, disquieted by the realisation his carefree days are numbered. Because he is about to become king…

ABT is Brisbane-bound

ONE way of looking at the repertoire for American Ballet Theatre’s Brisbane visit in August and September – its first to Australia – is with absolute pragmatism: there’s Swan Lake, of course, which is for many audience members the ballet gold standard, and there’s a triple bill made up of pieces the company is currently…

Dance in 2013

THE Australian dance-lover had plenty to enjoy in 2013, as long as there was a decent travel budget to hand. Paris Opera Ballet returned to Sydney, the Bolshoi had a season in Brisbane, The Australian Ballet premiered a new version of Cinderella by Alexei Ratmansky (Melbourne and Sydney only, although Adelaide sees it in 2014),…

2013: a retrospective

Here’s my take on the year’s high points. As many have noted before me, “best” is a useless word when applied to the cornucopia available in the arts. Here are the people and productions that most inspired me. “A SHORT show is a good show,” we all carol (me and my fellow critics) as we…

QB Nutcracker; David Hallberg at the AB

The Nutcracker, Queensland Ballet, Playhouse, QPAC, Brisbane, December 7 Cinderella, The Australian Ballet, Sydney Opera House, Sydney, December 14 IN many places in the northern hemisphere, but particularly in the US, seeing The Nutcracker at Christmas is as necessary as having gifts and dressing a tree. There’s another necessity too: so popular has The Nutcracker…