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…

New Breed, Sydney Dance Company

Carriageworks, Sydney, December 6 The mysteries of dance and dancemaking are great. What drives the need to watch this person closely and not that one? Why does a work speak to something deep within while another is superficially entertaining? How is it that one is engaged intellectually and emotionally with one piece of dance while…

Bespoke, Queensland Ballet

Brisbane Powerhouse, November 9. This year’s Bespoke triple bill could hardly be more diverse. It starts with neo-classicism and finishes with emotions, memories and personalities to the fore. In between the two is a work that insists dancers and audiences go well beyond their comfort zone and deliberately defies easy analysis. That work in the…

Queensland and West Australian ballet companies of one mind in 2020

Queensland Ballet announced its 2020 season in mid-September; West Australian Ballet in this past week. The nation’s leading state ballet companies are different in scale and usually in repertoire but their seasons next year have some striking similarities. West Australian Ballet offers a repeat season of Krzysztof Pastor’s full-length Dracula in September 2020 after its…

Romeo and Juliet, Queensland Ballet

Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane, August 28. When Queensland Ballet staged Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet in 2014 the then-small company took a huge risk, although one mitigated by bringing in superstars Carlos Acosta, Tamara Rojo and Steven McRae to partner QB principal artists. The gamble paid off. The season was a record-breaking success and, more importantly,…

Synergy, Queensland Ballet

Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, Brisbane, June 28 Synergy is a small, unpretentious program that’s partly a place where emerging choreographers can test their capabilities and partly where Queensland Ballet’s Young Artists and members of its Pre-Professional year can get some stage time. Both these things are important aspects of QB’s remit but, at least in this year’s…

The Masters Series, Queensland Ballet

Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane, May 17 and 18 (matinee) Old politicians are never the ones who die in battle, are they? Jiří Kylián’s Soldier’s Mass (1980) isn’t the only ballet to illustrate that poignant truth but it is one of the most affecting. With Bohuslav Martinů’s anguished Field Mass (1939) ringing in their ears, 12 young…

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…

The Australian Ballet and Queensland Ballet reveal 2019 programs

Alice Topp was yesterday named The Australian Ballet’s fourth resident choreographer, joining Stephen Baynes and Stanton Welch, (both appointed in 1995) and Tim Harbour (2014). Topp, a coryphée with the company, is the second woman to be given the title following Natalie Weir. It’s been a long time between drinks: Weir held the post for…