The Australian Ballet has announced that Artistic Director David Hallberg will join the Company on stage in a series of special guest appearances for their production of Kunstkamer. A landmark production for The Australian Ballet, Kunstkamer is one of the most ambitious contemporary dance productions ever undertaken by the Company.
Kunstkamer was originally developed for the pioneering dance company Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) in celebration of its 60th anniversary, by some of the most notable choreographers working today: former NDT House Choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot, and NDT Associate Choreographers Marco Goecke and Crystal Pite. This will be the first time the ballet has been performed outside of The Netherlands.
David Hallberg says that “…Kunstkamer will show audiences what else is possible in dance, seen through the most modern and compelling form of expression.”
David is scheduled to appear as a guest artist in the following performances in Sydney:
Friday 29 April 7.30pm, Saturday 30 April 7.30pm, Tuesday 3 May 7.30pm, Wednesday 4 May 7.30pm, Friday 6 May 7.30pm, Saturday 7 May 7.30pm, Monday 9 May 7.30pm, Wednesday 11 May 7.30pm, Friday 13 May 7.30pm, and Saturday 14 May 7.30pm.
Tickets for the final dress rehearsal of Kunstkamer on Thursday 28 April are still available! For more information and to book, click here.
With Anna Karenina finally open in Melbourne and soon due to arrive in Sydney, here are five reasons why you need to see this not to be missed co-production from The Australian Ballet and Joffrey Ballet.
PASSION TO MOVE YOU
The story of Anna, whose life-destroying desire for the handsome and faithless Vronsky is palpable through a series of rapturous pas de deux.
Soloist Imogen Chapman who is dancing the role of Anna says “You really get taken on that journey with Anna and Vronsky. I feel like audiences will really relate to that, and go on this journey with the characters,”
Robyn Hendricks and Callum Linnane, photo Jeff Busby, courtesy of The Australian Ballet
GLAMOUR AND GRANDEUR
The costumes by veteran theatre designer Tom Pye capture the elegance of Imperial Russian society with luxurious fabrics and jewel tones.
A BALLET LIKE A MOVIE
Chicago’s PBS station, WWTW, called Possokhov’s Anna Karenina “A magnificent classical ballet in the guise of a great work of modern cinema.” Pye’s opulent yet minimal sets and projections by Finn Ross (Harry Potter and The Cursed Child) – which include footage of the dancers taken backstage in real time – conjure ballrooms, bedrooms, a race track and that fateful train station, lending a filmic scale and atmosphere to this immersive piece of theatre.
Robyn Hendricks and Callum Linnane, photo Jeff Busby, courtesy of The Australian Ballet
Teaming up with the Joffrey Ballet to co-produce Anna Karenina meant that the ballet could have specially commissioned music by multi-award-winning composer Ilya Demutsky. Inspired by Tolstoy, Demutsky has created a sweeping, textured score with all the scale and grandeur of his countrymen Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. A mezzo soprano will appear at key moments to amplify Anna’s emotion through song.
THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME
A very human heroine, Anna holds our sympathy even as she flounders into disaster. She adores, she suffers, she is torn between her life and the love of her life – no wonder actors from Greta Garbo to Vivien Leigh to Keira Knightly have been attracted to the role. We can’t wait to see our brilliant dancers embody Anna.
Robyn Hendricks as Anna, photo Jeff Busby, courtesy of The Australian Ballet
Tickets for final dress rehearsal performance of Anna Karenina on Monday 4 April at the Sydney Opera House are available now. Click here to secure yours.
New York Dialects Final Dress Rehearsal | Monday 5 April | Cast List
Amber Scott Ako Kondo Nicola Curry
Ty King-Wall Jarryd Madden
Yuumi Yamada Corey Herbert Imogen Chapman Jill Ogai
Artists of The Australian Ballet
THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS
Jacqueline Clark and Luke Marchant
Ingrid Gow and Joseph Romancewicz
Robyn Hendricks and Adam Bull
First Variation: Melancholic
Yuumi Yamada Aya Watanabe
Jasmin Durham Lisa Craig Sophie Morgan Evie Ferris
Second Variation: Sanguinic
Benedicte Bemet and Brett Chynoweth
Lilla Harvery Lilly Maskery Karina Arimura Montana Rubin
Third Variation: Phlegmatic
Larissa Kiyoto-Ward Belle Urwin Katherine Sonnekus Sara Andrlon
Fourth Variation: Choleric
With artists of The Australian Ballet
With New York Dialects now on sale here are 5 reasons why you should be buying tickets to The Australian Ballet’s 2021 return to the Sydney Opera House.
#1 – First performance back in Sydney
New York Dialects will be the Ballet’s first season in Sydney in over a year and a half! The last time The Australian Ballet was in town was December 2019 with perennial favourite The Nutcracker: The Story of Clara. After so long away from the city, it is going to be truly extraordinary to be watching the dancers take to the stage at the Opera House.
#2 – David Hallberg’s first program as Artist Director
As well as being the Company’s first performance back in Sydney, New York Dialects will also be the city’s first introduction to David Hallberg as Artistic Director.
This triple bill is his first program to be staged in Sydney and will set out his vision for the future of the Company. New York Dialects also features David Hallberg’s first commissioned work for The Australian Ballet – Pam Tanowitz’s New Work.
#3 – Pam Tanowitz
Pam Tanowitz is a critically acclaimed New York choreographer. She has created work for The Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. Pam’s work is known for its abstract treatment of classical and contemporary movement ideas and structures as she encourages the viewer to see through to the heart of dance.
As David Hallberg says,‘she is one of our generation’s most intelligent creators: focused, insightful and original, just as Balachine was.’
#4 – The Company
After being off the stage for 11 months, New York Dialects is a program that will let the all the dancers of the Company shine. With the beauty and elegance of the female corps de ballet in Balanchine’s Serenade perfectly complimenting Tanowitz’s New Work which has been created specifically for the male dancers of the Company.
#5 – The music
New York Dialects is a program for music–lovers. The simplicity and purity of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C will open the program. While Paul Hindemith’s composition for The Four Temperaments perfectly explores the moods Balanchine wanted to affect, the Watermark concerto from Pulitzer-prize winning composer Caroline Shaw extends Tanowitz’s New Work.
Tickets for The Friends of The Australian Ballet New York Dialects Dress Rehearsal are on sale now
If you were at the dress rehearsal for The Australian Ballet’s production of Sylvia you might have noticed a few guest artists on stage – and we’re not just talking about Misty Copeland. Alexander Phoon, a young dance student, was cast as one of the adorable, scene-stealing cherubs. Alexander, and his mum Catherine, are both members of the Friends and we are beyond thrilled that we got to see him on stage with The Australian Ballet for the first time.
We asked Alexander a few questions about ballet and how he got involved with Sylvia.
When did you start dancing and where do you currently learn?
I started dance at the age of eight and I currently dance at The McDonald College.
What made you want to start dancing? Why do you love it?
I started dancing because I have always been inspired by performing arts, although after watching The Australian Ballet I immediately knew that one day I would be a ballet dancer.
How did you get involved with Sylvia and The Australian Ballet?
Through The McDonald College – I was lucky enough to be able to apply for the show and the next day I was informed that I had successfully been accepted.
How long were you rehearsing for Sylvia?
I was rehearsing for Sylvia for around just a week.
What is your favourite part of Sylvia? Is there a particular dance or movement you love? And favourite character?
My favourite part of Sylvia is the feeling when get to go on stage and the experience of being able to work alongside the company. My favourite character would have to be Eros as he does an amazing solo and is a very energetic character.
Who’s your male principle dancer with The Australian Ballet?
My favourite male dancer in the company is definitely Chengwu Guo because of his outstanding athleticism, ability and determination.
What’s your favourite ballet and why?
My all time favourite ballet is definitely Alices’ Adventures in Wonderland by Christopher Wheeldon as it has a lot of excitement and interesting characters. The choreography for the ballet is amazing too.
As audience members, we usually gawk at a dancer’s consecutive turns and flying leaps, but from the perspective of sculptor Linda Klarfeld, it is the intricate and fast-moving positions of a dancer that she wishes to immortalise in bronze. Before our Sylvia Dress Rehearsal performance, we were honoured to have Linda Klarfield, a celebrated Australian sculptor to talk about how she intertwined her artistic gifts and her admiration of ballet in her 6 dance-inspired bronze sculptures. In this talk, her sculptures were brought to life by two talented young students from Allegria Dance Studio.
Her talk detailed her tedious process of sculpting and modelling, of her obsessive observation with the placing of an index finger, or the positioning of a hip bone. Her artworks capture positions that are impossible to hold, as Linda described that her bronze sculptures will stay ‘en pointe’ for 2000 years. As she was never a professional dancer, she leaned on the technical eye of David McAllister and Robert Albert to critique and examine her plasticine sculptures before casting them in rubber/plaster moulds. Using these moulds, she would cast the sculptures in wax and detail any imperfections. At one point, she recalled she had been so obsessive in perfecting the detailing of the hands and materials, she had overlooked that she had cast a dancer with (literally) two left feet. After creating a ceramic mould with the wax sculptures, she would melt out the wax and pour in the bronze.
Bronze is characterized by permanence and strength; hence, Linda relies on it to hold impossible poses with impeccable balance. In her statue of the pas de deux from Giselle, she highlights how her greatest challenge was locating the position’s centre of gravity. In this statue, the ballerina is not yet at the top of her lift, and Linda explains that she located the centre of gravity as being slightly off-centre, as the two dancers pull up and away from each other to maintain balance. We have all seen these lifts in arabesque, with the risen leg stretching through a 90-degree angle, however, the eye always misses the moments before the picture. Linda’s sculptures make that moment tangible to help incite a feeling of excitement about what is about to happen, to bring the sculptures to life in what feels like a real-life pas de deux.
This whole process would take around 6 months for every sculpture, however, in every finished result, you can clearly see the admiration and dedication Linda has for her dancers and her art. We thank her for sharing her unique insight into the world of sculpting and ballet with our members, and commend her on her beautiful artworks.
Sculptor Linda Klarfeld
All photos were taken by Lexy Potts.