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…

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 –…

A new year dawns at RNZB

Biographies of the new intake at Royal New Zealand Ballet are now on the website after last year’s bruising and very public exodus of a large number of dancers. There are currently 32 dancers pictured on the site, 22 of whom were still standing at the end of 2017. Now the dust has settled it…

Li and QB: my artists of the year

My first Artist of the Year, in 2015, was operatic mezzo, cabaret sensation, music-theatre star and all-round fine human being Jacqueline Dark. Last year I went for a large, disparate group of people and companies – the independent theatre artists who do tremendous work at low prices, making their art accessible to all often at…

Big dancer turnover at RNZB

Royal New Zealand Ballet artistic director Patricia Barker will preside over a significantly different group of dancers next year from those the American inherited when she was appointed to her role in June this year. Of the 36 dancers currently listed on the RNZB website, it appears that, in line with rumours doing the rounds…

Together Live 2017

Sydney City Youth Ballet with the SYO Philharmonic. The Concourse, Chatswood, Sydney. September 23. The room is always full of hope and desire when student performers take to the stage, particularly if they are dancers or classical musicians. Some will have started as young as four or five and certainly by eight or nine. In…

Don Quixote, West Australian Ballet

His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth, May 11 and 12. Don Quixote is all fluff and high spirits. Based glancingly on the Cervantes novel, the ballet foregrounds the romance between Kitri, an innkeeper’s daughter, and the impecunious barber Basilio. Kitri’s father would prefer her to marry money, which turns up in the form of Gamache, a fool….

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…

Raw, Queensland Ballet

Works by Liam Scarlett, Greg Horsman and Christopher Bruce. Queensland Ballet, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane, March 17. Death comes to us all eventually but does it have to come so cruelly and so soon to so many? Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances was made in 1981 in response to human rights abuses in Pinochet’s Chile…

Bespoke, Queensland Ballet

Brisbane Powerhouse, February 10. Bespoke is a new-choreography program that shows Queensland Ballet moving up yet another gear and broadening its horizons. So far in Li Cunxin’s artistic directorship new contemporary work on the schedule has either fallen into the annual triple bill, of which there is always only one (although none in 2015), or…