How does a moment last forever? Our Pre-Performance Sylvia Talk with Sculptor Linda Klarfeld.

How does a moment last forever? Our Pre-Performance Sylvia Talk with Sculptor Linda Klarfeld.

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.

Still, Slow and Satisfying… ‘Missed Nuance’ by Niv Novak

Still, Slow and Satisfying… ‘Missed Nuance’ by Niv Novak

A dancer spends years training to conceal any pain or difficulty during performances.  Thus, small moments of strength and beauty can be overlooked, ‘lost to speed’ according to Niv Novak in an interview with MyModernNet. In Novak’s latest work, ‘Missed Nuance – A Ballet Art Film,’ audiences are forced to slow down and glorify every shift and change in the dancer’s body.

The film partners artists from our own Australian Ballet with the Bolshoi Theatre, The Royal Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo and the Queensland Ballet. Excerpts of the film have been scattered around social media under #missednuance, creating an endless time-loop of mesmerizing and satisfying clips. The full film can now be found on iTunes in 4k.

The trailer alone is hard evidence against the claim that ‘ballet is not a sport.’ It is an ode to the beauty and athleticism of these professionals. One costume appears like molten gold, spinning and rippling as it hardens around the dancer. In another shot, green silk soars through the air, like a blooming flower stretching it’s petals. And in a closeup of a shoe, mustard yellow fabric tangles around the leg of the dancer as the pointe shoe clicks forward into an extended pointe.

Like the dance form, Novak’s work faced many difficulties in production, yet the end product persevered, clearly conveying Novak’s genuine admiration for his dancers.

 

“What a thrill it is to see these amazing dancers captured in such exquisite detail and at a speed that we can see the sheer grit and power that goes into making dance that inspires with its beauty. It is a glimpse at the sublime captured by one who is also an artist and a great supporter of our art,” said David McAllister, Artistic Director, The Australian Ballet.

Missed Naunce with Zoe Cavedon, Projection Dance

Dancer: Zoe Cavedon

Please hold… Technical Difficulties…

It took him 18 months to perfect the lighting in each shot, as he experimented with light numerous times as he attempted to replicate the lighting structure of portraiture in a video medium.

With 700kg of lighting equipment located in his Melbourne studio, it was paramount that dancers could travel to Melbourne. With companies like The Australian Ballet, there was no shortage of talent, however, international companies like the Bolshoi Theatre and The Royal Ballet have taken a deep interest in this project, hence numerous high calibre international dancers appearing in ‘Missed Nuance.’

A main source of anxiety for Novak centred on the idea that shooting 1000 frames per second would make any small imperfection very prominent. Novak describes in his interview with FilmDaily his lighting equipment had to be 5x stronger than the average studio equipment to ensure the picture remained smooth and fluid. Moreover, as every real-time second would equate to a 40-second film on camera, Novak estimated his camera recorded 11GB per second, meaning that each day of shooting would end with approximately 4-6TB of data.

 

Lights, Camera, Fashion!

Novak’s work not only showcased the finest talent in dance, but also places Australian couture in an international spotlight. All costumes were designed by leading Australian designers, the team lead by the likes of Belinda Pieris. The team delved into a deep study of fabric dynamics to ensure that the fabrics flowed through every movement and shot, ensuring nothing less than perfection in this collaboration between dance and fashion.

“I’ve been in the fashion industry for over two decades and I have never seen fabric move and come alive the way that Niv’s work demonstrated, absolutely breathtaking!” Jason Grech, Designer

Dancer: Yuumi Yamada

 

The Tunes

Although sounds are often underestimated in the business of photography, Novak spared no expense in ensuring that the score maintained the same high standards as his images. Melbourne-based composer Troy Rogan was commissioned to create an original score that reflects the beauty and grace of the film. The score aims to create a tranquil atmosphere, creating a trance-like effect on the audience. Maybe that’s why we got stuck in that endless time loop, watching these satisfying videos back-to-back?

 

Novak hopes audiences return to their daily life being more appreciative of dancers and beauty. He describes that ‘beauty is in every other instant,’ which completely sums up the purpose of the film. In a greater sense, the piece is an ode to the brilliant capabilities of humans, of the results of perseverance and spirit.

Stream Missed Nuance now on iTunes in 4k.

 

 

 

Three Reasons for The Happy Prince

Three Reasons for The Happy Prince

Based on Oscar Wilde’s classic tale, The Happy Prince is a colourful celebration of humanity with a unique Aussie flavour that will capture the imagination and attention of both children and adults with its message: a kind heart shines brighter than gold. With Graeme Murphy’s exquisite choreography, Christopher Gordon’s specially commissioned score and Kim Carpenter’s colourful design, The Happy Prince is sure to be an excellent start to the 2020 season. Here are three reasons why you need to catch it.

 

 

Wilde’s Writing

Photography by Kate Longley 

Wilde’s visual story is ripe for transformation on the ballet stage with its unique characters and creative illustrations. The golden Prince, cheeky Swallow and seductive Reed will come to life, dancing off the page through Murphy’s transformative storytelling. A modern twist on classic literature, this ballet will be something to look forward to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Murphy Magic

Graeme Murphy. Photography by Kate Longley 

Graeme Murphy – dance legend who produced one of our most celebrated productions the Swan Lake returns to create yet another magical ballet. His humour, creativity, sensuality and boldness turn everything he makes into gold where he offers some charming and unique surprises in his interpretation of Wilde’s characters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dazzling designs

Design for The Happy Prince by Kim Carpenter 

Kim Carpenter’s delightful design will add a lively and colourful flair to the ballet, bringing to life Wilde’s moving tale, capturing the attention of all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Ballet launches 2020 Season

Australian Ballet launches 2020 Season

The launch of the 2020 Season has formed a clear promise from The Australian Ballet; a promise from the company to transform and transcend any creative or artistic boundaries in next year’s season. The departure of much-loved Artistic Director David McAllister has resulted in the creation of an exciting season that pays homage to his dedication to continuously push and innovate The Australian Ballet over the past two decades. In a fitting manner, the theme of the 2020 Season has been named “Limitless Possibilities,” with the company promising to look within and push themselves to a realm “where the possibilities are endless.”

 

The Happy Prince

Photography Justin Ridler

Headlining our 2020 Season is Graeme Murphy and Kim Carpenter’s imaginative new ballet, The Happy Prince, inspired by the classic Oscar Wilde tale of the same name. This colourful celebration of humanity with a modernised Aussie flair sends a message of kindness to all ages, a message decorated within Murphy’s innovative choreography. This all-Australian world premiere debuts an original score from the renowned composer Christopher Gordon, who has had great successes on his past projects, such as his composing of the score to the film Mao’s Last Dancer. The debut of this ballet has placed our very own Australian Ballet at the world’s centre stage, and we can promise that all eyes will be on our Opera House next summer.

 

Volt

Photography Justin Ridler

The Company will be broadcasting their own innovative and artistic voice with Volt. This program features two works from the visionary Wayne McGregor and a new piece from The Australian Ballet’s Alice Topp. McGregor has built his reputation for experimentation and distinct artistry over the past decade, and continues to push all preconceived notions of how dance should be. Alice Topp, recent recipient of the Helpmann Award for her work in Aurum last year, will present her new work, Logos, a co-commission by Studio Wayne McGregor, The Australian Ballet and Dance@The Grange. Topp’s involvement will ensure Volt will embody her innovative and artistic voice, which combined with McGregor’s Chroma and DYAD, will see Volt light up a new style of expression. This dynamic duo is leaning over the edge to a new era of cunning change, promising us a performance for the books.

Anna Karenina

Photography Justin Ridler

An ambitious crossover of cinematic drama and the poise of ballet. The 2020 Season welcomes Anna Karenina, an epic tragedy of a woman who follows her heart and desires into her demise. The performance flaunts every asset of the current Australian Ballet, with exquisite costumes, dramatic staging, stellar technique but, the impact of the beautiful story cannot be underestimated.The strict, high society of Imperial Russia looks down upon a woman who follows love, thus, Anna is heartlessly excluded as she desperately tries to escape an empty marriage, with her only respite being in a fiery affair with a handsome young officer, Vronsky. Former principal dancer of Bolshoi Ballet and San Francisco Ballet Yuri Possokhov takes a seat in the choreographer’s chair to reinvent Tolstoy’s immortal novel. Adding to the drama of the spectacle, the performance will also feature a mezzo soprano singing live on stage. The performance combines elements that have not yet been related on our stage, perfectly forming a gripping story of agony and hope.

Molto

Photography Justin Ridler

The Australian Ballet sets the stage for a vividly light and dramatic story of Molto next season, focusing on the bright, passionate and chaotic elements of the art form. Molto offers three works, two by The Australian Ballet resident choreographers Stephen Baynes and Tim Harbour and one by Frederick Ashton. Ashton, a giant of 20th Century dance, creates a playful story of love in A Month in the Country, where Natalia seeks excitement outside of her boring marriage, encouraging the advances of an older admirer. Upon engaging, she realises her true desires are directed towards her son’s tutor, but this last pursuit is not void of competition. Chopin’s sounds and Julia Trevelyan Oman’s designs set the mood for the eloquent pas de deux, framed by all the show’s beautiful elements partnering in harmony. The two works that follow consequentially are created under the keen eye of our two resident choreographers, Baynes and Harbour. Harbour’s Squander in Glory is a fast and sharp movement piece for 14 dancers, with Kelvin Ho’s elusive mirrored set creating an eye-tricking backdrop for the piece. The final act, and the namesake of the ballet, Baynes’ Molto Vivace, is a light-hearted frolic of flirting and manners, before the performance morphs into a mayhem of colour. The flavourful performance of complex emotions has brought a transformed tradition into a modern era.

 

Harlequinade

Photography Justin Ridler

The Season finishes with a bright stroke of colour in Harlequinade, a comedic peformance with commedia dell’arte characters who stylistically express themselves through steps of ballet. Harlequin and Columbine are in love, but as Columbine is set to marry an older and richer fellow, she is locked up by her father’s loyal servant, Pierrot. Pierrot’s wife, however, is sympathetic to the young couple, freeing Columbine as Harlequin is given a magical slap stick by the Good Fairy. In a extravagant spectacle of movement and colour, Harlequin aims to win Columbine’s hand through love and magic. In this Melbourne-exclusive season, Harlequinade will charm its viewers and is set to return to it’s former popularity from before the 1917 Russian Revolution.

Important Booking Information

Important Booking Information

With The Nutcracker going on sale, we thought we would share some important booking information to help you secure your dress rehearsal tickets as quickly and easily as possible.

Our ticket allocation is provided by The Australian Ballet and begins at row N in the stalls. The front stalls are only available to The Australian Ballet creative team and company members.

As we are expecting high demand for tickets to The Nutcracker  we are unable to take bookings over the phone at this time.

If you are buying multiple tickets, you must add attendance details, including membership numbers,  for

other guests.

USING A TABLET, iPAD or MOBILE
You must be logged in using your email and password to access ticket sales.

Please click on the PROFILE icon to enter your details. This will allow you to purchase tickets at the member price.

Click CONTINUE to proceed to ticket selection (See circled image)

If you are experiencing any difficulties, you can email your booking to admin@fab.org.au

Sylvia opens in Melbourne

Sylvia opens in Melbourne

Opening in Melbourne over the weekend, it looks like The Australian Ballet’s production of Stanton Welch’s Sylvia is capturing hearts.

‘Welch captures the style of a romantic ballet while maintaining a sense of modernity. This results in a feast of utterly bewitching shapes and movement from start to finish… Sylvia achieves everything it sets out to do; it is a joyous production that showcases exhilarating choreography and the exceptional talent of The Australian Ballet
– Jenna Schroder for ArtsHub

‘Sylvia is a wonderfully successful synthesis of choreography, music, lighting, projection, set design and costuming.’
– Susan Bendall for Dance Australia

If the reviews are anything to go by, it looks like we are in for an absolute treat when Sylvia make its way to Sydney in November. Tickets for the dress rehearsal on 7 November are available here.

Main image Simon Schluter