Andrew Killian and Kevin Jackson, two of The Australian Ballet’s much-loved Principal Artists have announced they will be leaving the Company.
Joining The Company in 2000, Andrew was made a Principal Artist in 2011. Across his eclectic career he has danced lead roles in countless ballets, including Manon, Nijinsky, Sir Peter Wright’s The Nutcracker, both Stephen Baynes and Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake, and Murphy’s Romeo & Juliet. Andrew was also involved in the creation of many new works including Baynes’ Constant Variants and Tim Harbour’s Wa and has performed in the majority of The Australian Ballet’s Bodytorque seasons. Andrew has toured with The Australian Ballet to Auckland, Tokyo, Shanghai, New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris.
‘I have known Andy personally since I first came to Melbourne in 2010 and have always admired his ease of dancing and approach to work. Nothing was ever too much to take on. A consummate team player, one committed to the glory and uniqueness of this company, Andy has always been ‘one’ with his colleagues. I know he will be missed within the ranks‘ – David Hallberg
Kevin joined slightly after Andrew in 2003 and was promoted to Principal Artist in 2020. In his time with the Company, he has performed lead roles in classical and contemporary works by choreographers including John Neumeier, Alexei Ratmansky, Wayne McGregor, Jiří Kylián and Graeme Murphy. He was chosen to create the lead male roles in David McAllister’s The Sleeping Beauty and Lucas Jervies’ Spartacus. Outside of The Australian Ballet, Kevin has accepted invitations to guest with some of the world’s other leading companies, such as American Ballet Theatre and The Royal Ballet.
‘Kevin is a soulfully deep artist; one that touched his audiences and colleagues with intense interpretations of the vast array of repertoire that The Australian Ballet offered him. . .Kevin immersed himself in the complex roles, going to an artistic place that required every bit of him. He spared nothing. He gave everything. This is the true sign of an artist; the devotional commitment to any role. Behind the scenes, he was as warm a colleague as any: devoted on stage, but human off it’ – David Hallberg
Can’t attend the next Ballet? In a different city? Ballet fans across the world can now get virtual front-row seats to the live-streamed performances by The Australian Ballet.
We are thrilled to share that The Australian Ballet has launched, Live on Ballet TV, an exciting new way to experience The Australian Ballet from anywhere around the world!
The first live-streamed performance to be hitting our screens is Summertime at the Ballet at MCA, Melbourne Park.
For the special price of $25, Summertime at the Ballet can be watched LIVE on Sunday 28 February at 11.45am AEDT or at your convenience over the following 48 hours.
This special virtual performance includes exclusive bonus commentary from our very own David Hallberg, plus live interviews and behind the scenes footage you can view via any device or cast to your smart TV.
Buy a ticket for yourself or gift a ticket to someone you know would enjoy the show! You’ll receive a link to watch Summertime at the Ballet on Live on Ballet TV.
Grab your popcorn, cast the performance to your Smart TV and settle in for an afternoon at the ballet from the comfort of your home.
The Australian Ballet’s joyful return to the stage!
The beauty and versatility of The Ballet’s dancers will shine in a selection of excerpts from ballet’s most celebrated classic, alongside the Company’s latest contemporary works and signature repertoire.
Summertime at the Ballet will honour The Australian Ballet’s history, while embracing the future and reveling in the pure love of dance.
David Hallberg’s insight “In my first program as artistic director, I am showcasing the talent of the entire company. With fresh inspiration, the dancers step back on the stage in repertoire that exemplifies their versatility as both technicians and artists. These modern and classical ballets are their lifeblood and exactly why they live for the stage and the expression of performance.”
The Summertime at the Ballet program will include:
The Kingdom of the Shades from La Bayadère Choreography Marius Petipa Music Ludwig Minkus, arranged by John Lanchbery
Pas de deux from Molto Vivace Choreography Stephen Baynes Music George Frederic Handel
Act III Pas de deux from Don Quixote Choreography Rudolf Nureyev Music Ludwig Minkus arranged by John Lanchbery
Excerpts from Act I of Spartacus Choreography Lucas Jervies Music Arum Khachaturian
Trio from Filigree and Shadow Choreography Tim Harbour Music 48nord
David Hallberg recently announced two new dancers would be joining The Australian Ballet in 2021, the first to join the Company under his direction.
Annabelle Watt and Lilla Harvey will officially graduate from The Australian Ballet School, after completing most of their graduating year virtually during 2020. According to Hallberg, both dancers have a solid approach to classical technique, with each of them demonstrating their own individuality in artistic expression. We cannot wait to see Annabelle and Lilla take to the stage in 2021!
Annabelle Watt, photograph Taylor-Ferne Morris, courtesy The Australian Ballet
Annabelle joined The Australian Ballet School in 2017 at Level 5, after receiving The Australian Ballet School’s scholarship offered at the Sydney Eisteddfod (Robert & Elizabeth Albert Junior Classical Scholarship). She grew up in Brisbane and commenced dancing at the age of three. A performance highlight of Annabelle’s is when she competed in the 2016 Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City. Aside from ballet, Annabelle enjoys travelling, retail therapy and playing backyard cricket & touch football.
Lilla Harvey, photograph Taylor-Ferne Morris, courtesy The Australian Ballet
Lilla has been dancing ballet since she was 10-years-old, and moved from Perth to join The Australian Ballet School at Level 4 in 2016. Lilla loves the contemporary aspects of training, including the opportunity to choreograph her own pieces, and finds the process of working with various choreographers particularly rewarding. A highlight of Lilla’s time at The Australian Ballet School includes dancing the Golden Vine Fairy in the 2019 performance of ‘Aurora’s Wedding’ from The Sleeping Beauty. In her spare time, Lilla enjoys seeing live music, reading and going on camping trips.
We are thrilled to share The Australian Ballet’s 2021 Season with all our Friends.
David Hallberg has planned a season that is sure to inspire and delight for his first year as Artistic Director. We invite you to join with us in celebrating the start of a new era for ballet in Australia.
For more information about the 2021 Season, click here.
In recognition of your ongoing support of The Friends of The Australian Ballet we invite you to join us for a warm interactive conversation via Zoom.
Hosted by Friends Deputy Chair Bruce Pollack in conversation with Leo Schofield AM
Twenty years ago this month, Australia welcomed the world to Sydney. Leo Schofield was the Artistic Director of the 2000 Sydney Olympic and the 2000 Summer Paralympics arts festivals. He has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a journalist, critic, creative arts festival director, and trustee of countless arts and cultural organisations.
Join The Friends for a warm convivial online conversation with Leo Schofield as we explore his passion for the performing arts, involvement with the Paris Opera Ballet and revisit fond and funny Olympic moments from Sydney 2000.
Once upon a time, the people of the world looked to costumes as the dictators of fashion trends. It’s hard to believe that the extravagant gowns and accessories could be adapted in everyday life, however, in 1907, the fashion of “The Merry Widow” crossed into the mainstream consciousness.
Ever heard of a Merry Widow hat?
The operetta premiered on Broadway in 1907, in a time where women sported a tailored, hour-glass figure with a flowing skirt. However, the heroine, Hanna Glawari, contrasted the simplistic, natural look with a large, circular hat, covered in swathes of gauzy chiffon and white ostrich feathers.
If you are under the impression that this hat is a little bit extravagant, you may be interested to learn that it is fairly understated in comparison to the “trendy hats” it inspired.
There was no mistaking it- The Merry Widow created a cultural phenomenon of hat-wearing, with these hats becoming a symbol of wealth and class. The base widths of the hats varied, with most usually stretching to 45cm, however, there was no restrictions in the height of the hats. Although Ostrich feathers complemented the look nicely, the hats were also decorated with flowers, and sometimes sprinkled with a couple stuffed birds.
A parody post card of “The Merry Widow Hat” c.1908
The hats grew to be a sign of class and wealth.
Lily Elsie, the original Hanna, in a “Merry Widow Hat”
Hats aside, The Merry Widow and the composer, Franz Lehár, became a global phenomenon internationally, travelling from Austria to the UK, and even to Broadway in the US. Bearing in mind the difficultly in touring productions in the eras before air travel, it is quite remarkable how the show was able to migrate into various countries, languages and cultures, yet still leave a lasting cultural imprint. For example, it is believed that Lehár’s storyline in The Merry Widow sparked a new demand for Viennese Waltz Operas in the States over the next decade. Moreover, Lehár’s work also paved the way for a new wave of Viennese Operettas, which would centre two constantly battling lovers who would hide their feelings from the other, until, they reveal their attraction in the last scene.
It’s remarkable how this story has been continually shared over the last 100 years. The Australian Ballet’s most recent adaptation is a great spectacle of talent, colour and intricate design. However, once you learn of the quirky backstory of this ballet, so many small details in the costuming, such as the odd Ostrich feather here and there, are suddenly highlighted in your eye.
Hanna’s Famous Hat, Adam Bull and Amber Scott (Jeff Busby)