Much-loved Australian Ballet principal dancer Ty King-Wall is retiring from the Company when Anna Karenina finishes in Sydney.
Ty began dancing aged seven in his native New Zealand. He joined the Australian Ballet in 2006 and rose quickly through the ranks to be made a soloist in 2010, senior artist in 2011 and principal artist in 2013. When he suffered a chronic back injury at the age of 27, he questioned if he would ever dance again.
“To be able to perform a principal role in a full-length ballet is incredibly demanding. I’m still able to achieve that, but it’s becoming harder and harder. I can see the point where I won’t be able to do it, and it’s like an oncoming train, to reference Anna Karenina. I wanted to stop before I was over the other side of that.”
Ty also sites fatherhood as a key reason he’s decided to hang up his ballet shoes. He and wife Amber Scott, also a principal dancer with the Company, have two children: Bonnie, three, and Marion, who was born six weeks ago.
Ty and Amber plan to launch a coaching residency and clinic later this year in Melbourne, offering one-on-one classes for upcoming dancers.
Ty is currently dancing the role of Vronsky in the much anticipated production of Anna Karenina, with his last performance on April 23.
During the curtain call of the opening night of Anna Karenina in Melbourne, David Hallberg announced the promotion of Callum Linnane from Senior to Principal Artist.
About Callum’s promotion David said ‘When hard work, focus and passion come together, it can be an undeniable combination. This is what Callum embodies as a dancer and I am thrilled that he has been named Principal Artist of The Australian Ballet. I cannot wait for audiences to see Callum soar to new heights as he embarks on the ascent of a true artist.’
Linnane was accepted into The Australian Ballet School in 2008 and graduated dux with honours. He joined The Australian Ballet in 2015; he was promoted to coryphée in 2017 to soloist in 2018 and to senior artist in 2021.
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.
Earlier this year FAB Member, Claire Bailey undertook the challenge of reading Anna Karenina in preparation for attending the now cancelled Sydney performances of Leo Tolstoy’s novel that became an epic ballet.
Many writers consider Anna Karenina the greatest work of literature ever. Tolstoy himself called it his first true novel. It is considered a complex book in eight parts, with more than a dozen major characters, spread over more than 800 pages!
The Friends of the Australian Ballet are deeply grateful and delighted to share this book review, prepared by avid reader and member of The Friends, Claire Bailey to entice and delight.
Anna Karenina – Book Review by Claire Bailey
Tolstoy’s tragic novel of Anna Karenina starts with the introduction of Anna’s relatives and their close friends. At first, I was confused as to why the author spent so much time on these other characters. However, as their stories progressed and entwined with Anna’s I grew attached to them and eager to see how their stories played out. Most compelling was the beautiful story of Levin. Levin is a sensitive character who battles self-confidence yet never truly gives up finding happiness.
When we are introduced to Anna we discover she is desperately unhappy in a loveless marriage and a life that does not reflect her true self. Her journey to find true love and happiness is brave and not without sacrifice with dire consequences. She soon finds herself torn between two choices: one that would lead her to a new life and the other closes the door on her past forever.
Perhaps the real heroine in the story is not Anna but her sister in-law Dolly. Dolly is a strong woman who has her own adversities. Dolly is instrumental in helping her family on their quest for love, happiness and finding inner peace.
Tolstoy’s story explores each character trying to find inner peace, and while some find it through love and forgiveness, others stories are far more tragic..
Have you recently read an inspiring book from the world of ballet? We welcome your feedback and reviews at email@example.com
As 2019 draws to a close, we are looking to 2020 and are thrilled to be sharing The Australian Ballet’s Year of Limitless Possibilities with our Friends.
The launch of the 2020 Season has formed a clear promise from The Australian Ballet; a promise to transform and transcend any creative or artistic boundaries and we are happy to accompany you as we explore this transformative season. The season is an ode to the fantastic service of David McAllister, but also a confirmation that the company shows no sign of slowing down.
The Australian Ballet has grown immensely under David’s leadership, with the 2020 season featuring strong collaborations with international companies such as the Joffrey Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre in the performances of Anna Karenina and Harlequinade.
Anna Kareninapushes the traditional format for ballets, becoming an epic ballad of love, drama and loss. The company has pushed the envelope with modernized Hollywood-style costumes and mesmerizing choreography created by former Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer, Yuri Possokhov.
Anna Karenina, photo Justin Ridler
In an all-exclusive Melbourne run, Harlequinade will bring plenty of colour and fun to our Australian stages in the 2020 season. This cheeky, bubbly ballet is a classic story of forbidden love, with a twist of mischief and magic as Harlequin fights with an enchanted slap stick for Columbine’s hand in marriage.
Harlequinade, photo Justin Ridler
Volt will have The Company broadcasting their innovation and artistic voice. Alongside two works from the visionary Wayne McGregor, this program features a new work from The Australian Ballet’s Alice Topp, who delighted us this year with the Helpmann Award-winning Aurum. McGregor and Topp will see Volt light up a new style of expression and push all notions of how dance should be to the edge.
Volt, photo Justin Ridler
Molto revives a trio of the most bold and adventurous performances from the last 50 years, satisfying all your needs and desires from a quick trip to the ballet. In a crash-course performance of recent greats, Molto celebrates the successes of the modern ballet world, sparking excitement for the future of dance.
Molto, photo Justin Ridler
David’s tenure as Artistic Director began by commissioning Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake, and it seems fitting that The Happy Prince, Murphy’s new ballet, will open David’s final season in 2020. The international premiere of The Happy Prince has placed our Opera House at the center of global attention, proving that our company has once again, soared over our expectations in this year of Limitless Possibilities.
The Happy Prince, photo Justin Ridler
Like always, we will keep you updated with all details throughout the season. Join us in a pivotal year at The Australian Ballet, as we relish on our past successes and turn towards a bright future.