Sylvia, The Australian Ballet

Sydney Opera House, November 8 The dash for bathrooms and bars was substantially less frantic than usual after the close of Act I of Stanton Welch’s Sylvia. Heads everywhere bowed over their synopsis sheets. What in the name of all the gods in Ancient Greece was going on? How does one show via ballet that Artemis…

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…

Robyn Hendricks promoted to principal artist at The Australian Ballet

In what has become a tradition at The Australian Ballet, Robyn Hendricks was promoted on stage on Friday in Melbourne to the highest rank of principal artist. She was elevated by artistic director David McAllister after dancing Odette-Odile in Stephen Baynes’s production of Swan Lake. Hendricks joined the AB in 2005, became a soloist in…

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…

Thrills and spills: the year in dance

We’ll get to the year’s most interesting work and dancers shortly but 2015 was also notable for offstage developments, particularly at Australia’s three leading classical companies, The Australian Ballet, Queensland Ballet and West Australian Ballet. So let’s begin there. OFFSTAGE The national company At The Australian Ballet, David McAllister became the company’s longest-serving artistic director, surpassing…

Beauty in the eye of the beholder

Revelations in New York, stars made at The Australian Ballet, Alina Cojocaru in Brisbane and more … The Australian Ballet dubbed its 2015 season A Year of Beauty. Giselle, Swan Lake, Cinderella and Frederick Ashton’s The Dream were on the program, lovely ballets all, but essentially teasers for the main event – the new Sleeping…

A new generation rises to the challenge

Sydney Opera House, April 29. THE Australian Ballet’s first staging of Frederick Ashton’s Symphonic Variations alongside revivals of his coolly mysterious Monotones II and lucid, delightful one-act version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is well overdue. Ashton’s choreography hasn’t surfaced at the AB since 2004 (the last time La Fille mal gardée was presented) and…

To each her own

Sydney Opera House, April 2, 4 and 7 TWO and bit years ago, when Paris Opera Ballet came to Sydney with its production of Giselle, I was able to see three excitingly different readings of the title role, two of them from debutantes. We seem to get our fair share of important firsts in Australia….

Cinderella, the Australian Ballet

Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky. State Theatre, Melbourne, September 17 I CAN say one thing with absolute certainty about the Australian Ballet’s new Cinderella: it will take many viewings to reveal all its riches and intricacies. For that reason it’s likely to be a keeper for the AB and a rarity. A new full-length story ballet…