Manon, Queensland Ballet, QPAC, September 28 and 29, 2022

Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon premiered in 1974, not quite a decade after his Romeo and Juliet, and in some ways is the earlier ballet’s dark twin. Each has as its heart young lovers in a hostile environment whose instant attraction to one another ends in tragedy; each has hugely coveted leading roles of the kind that make reputations.  Queensland…

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…

Carmen & The Firebird, Queensland Ballet

Queensland Performing Arts Centre, May 26. You win some and you lose some. Queensland Ballet is a co-producer of Carlos Acosta’s Carmen with The Royal Ballet and Texas Ballet Theater, which means QB’s name is attached to it forever. I doubt I’ve seen a worse ballet from reputable companies in more than 40 years. I’m not…

La Bayadère, Queensland Ballet

Playhouse, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, March 16. La Bayadère is a difficult ballet to take seriously in the 21st century and Queensland Ballet’s new production does it few favours. Despite some fine dancing the abiding impression is of a narrative in sore need of stringent dramaturgical intervention. Greg Horsman’s revision invites – no, demands –…

Swan Lake, Queensland Ballet

Queensland Performing Arts Centre, May 5. Queensland Ballet’s Swan Lake had a 42nd Street quality on opening night as junior company member Joel Woellner was chosen to dance Prince Siegfried alongside the seasoned Odette-Odile of QB principal artist – and former top-ranked star at the National Ballet of Cuba – Yanela Piñera. Piñera has presence…

My year in dance

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Pina Bausch made my year. For his final Sydney Festival in January, artistic director Lieven Bertels programmed two bracing De Keersmaeker works, Fase and Vortex Temporum, and the huge thrill was seeing the choreographer herself in Fase (my review is here). Living dance history. Festival clout and money also made…

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Queensland Ballet, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane, April 1. The second act of Liam Scarlett’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream begins with deliciously controlled chaos. At the behest of Oberon, lord of the forest and fairies, Puck has got busy with magic love dust. The result is instantaneous passion for whoever is first seen, complicated by…

Liam Scarlett’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream arrives in Brisbane

There wouldn’t be too many 29-year-old men who know exactly where they are going to be in five years. Not in a general sense, as in being pretty sure about being promoted, or settling down with a partner and children, but precisely, literally. As in a date, a place, a specific task. Liam Scarlett does. We…

Queensland Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty

Lyric Theatre, Brisbane, October 23 and October 24 It is something of an understatement to say Greg Horsman knows The Sleeping Beauty well. Not only was it the first ballet he saw, the one that made him want to be a dancer, it was a key role for him. Among the stages on which he…

Swan Lake, RNZB, change of cast

St James Theatre, Wellington, July 19 A SECOND viewing of Russell Kerr’s Swan Lake for Royal New Zealand Ballet introduced two new young leads and further illuminated its strengths and a few weaknesses. Last night the mature, high-octane opening night pairing of Gillian Murphy and Pacific Northwest Ballet guest Karel Cruz gave way to the…