A virtual celebration of The Australian Ballet’s longest-serving artistic director – the extraordinary David McAllister – as he prepares to bid farewell to The Company. Take a trip down memory lane with a compilation of some of David’s most memorable moments from the archives. Hear from David’s nearest and dearest as they reflect on his legacy and share some of their favourite anecdotes from his tenure as an artist and leader of the company.
27 April – 15 May // Dress Rehearsal 26 April Sydney Opera House
In an exploration of movement, and a new, sensual language of ports de bras, this elegant 19th century classic Raymonda is combined with the fierce attack of Artifact Suite by William Forsythe is set to spark innovation through a study of tradition.
Artifact Suite From the strict, prim-and-proper depths of traditional European Dance, Forsythe challenges dances through extended shapes and reimagined technique. Cut-throat speed, dynamic directions and extensions of human physical capabilities will characterise our stages, set to the contrasting musical partnership of Bach’s smooth Chaconne and the heart-kicking thrills of composer Eva Crossman-Hecht.
Raymonda (Act III) Raymonda depicts the traditional wedding of the hero and heroine, showcasing sparkling technique and classical expression, held strongly by Hungarian character dance styles. The performance continuously builds to one of the most famous solos for leading ballerina’s, staged by our Artistic Director himself, David Hallberg.
Hallberg’s Thoughts “Raymonda adheres to tradition and pageantry; Forsythe took this history and ‘imitated’ it, creating a work that overwhelms both dancers and audience with gestural references given new meaning.”
5 – 24 November // Dress Rehearsal 4 November Sydney Opera House
In Shakespeare’s own words, the company elicits a warning…
“These violent delights have violent ends.”
With Principal Artist Ako Kondo debuting her dream role alongside her real-life Romeo, Principal Artist Chengwu Guo, we can almost taste the beginnings of something special! Cranko’s choreography has synthesised drama, dance, design and young, ferocious love in this gorgeous take on the timeless story. With both Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet and The Australian Ballet debuting in 1962, we know that this collaboration is the dawn of greatness!
Although Stalin and various Bolshoi dancers pronounced the music as “undanceable,” Prokofiev’s score has not only endured, but is celebrated amongst modern audiences globally. Enhancing the story is Jürgen Rose’s designs of a grandeur, aristocratic, medieval Verona, ensuring a night that will surely whisk us away!
Hallberg’s Thoughts “I have danced performances of Romeo where the audience was with us in every scene; they become a part of the ballet.”
30 November – 18 December // Dress Rehearsal 29 November Sydney Opera House
The 19th-century choreographer Marius Petipa made classical ballet’s most enduring works, including Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. Alexei Ratmansky, former director of the Bolshoi Ballet and artist in residence at American Ballet Theatre, has immersed himself in the original notation of Petipa’s oeuvre, producing meticulously researched revivals. His latest is the 1900 ballet Harlequinade, a lively romp based on commedia dell’arte.
He hath been stirred, and Harlequinade returns after eluding stages for over a century! This commedia dell’arte-inspired act is a lively comedy, which was reported to be held dearly by early 20th Century Tsar and Tsarina’s themselves! Through meticulous research and original notation of Petipa’s oeuvre, the timeless ballet has been revived in the original form, ready to be re-received by the world.
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.
Hallberg’s Thoughts “To resurrect from the archives a ballet by one of dance’s greatest creators was something I cherished, and I look forward to passing the experience on to the artists who will perform the role here in Australia.”
On Tuesday 29 September 2020, David McAllister, in conversation with co-hosts Catriona Rowntree and Amanda Dunn, celebrated the publication of his memoir, Soar: A Life Freed by Dance. Re-watch the recording of the virtual book launch and re-live the intimate reading of one of David’s favourite excerpts and interactive Q&A session.