A VIRTUAL NIGHT AT THE BALLET
GRAEME MURPHY’S SWAN LAKE
In recognition of your ongoing support of The Friends of The Australian Ballet we invite you and your household to join us for
The Australian Ballet’s inaugural online event, A Virtual Night at the Ballet.
You will be treated to a live and interactive pre-performance talk with creator Graeme Murphy AO where we will explore his legendary production of Swan Lake, followed by a screening of the performance via The Australian Ballet’s Ballet TV.
Thursday 2 July
7pm Pre-Performance Talk and Q&A
Hosted by Brooke Lockett with Special Guest Graeme Murphy AO
7.30pm Swan Lake
Your finest video conference attire
RSVP by Monday 29 June
Event access details will be emailed to guests at 5pm Thursday 2 July.
FAB Admin Manager Amy has been enjoying having more time to knit throughout the COVID-19 lockdown. She is currently working on a pair of fingerless gloves to keep her hands warm while working at home, and adding the finishing touches to a scarf she has been knitting since January.
Swans for Relief have created a beautiful new video showing 32 premier ballerinas from 22 dance companies in 14 countires performing Le Cygne (The Swan) variation from Swan Lake. The 6 minute montage includes Australian dancers – in order of appearance – Stephanie Kurlow (Australia’s first Hijabi Ballerina), and Ako Kondo and Robyn Hendricks from The Australian Ballet.
Misty Copeland made history as the first African American Female Principal Dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. She is credited as saying dance is her ‘superpower’. New York based Misty has been using her star power to help uplift fellow dancers. She enlisted 31 of her ballerina friends to lace up their pointe shoes and raise money for coronavirus relief through her newly launched Swans for Relief. So far they have raised over $250,000.
Misty was recently interviewed on USA Today to discuss the Swans for Relief project. Watch the interview here.
For more info about Swans for Relief, or ways to donate, click here.
We recently featured A Ballerina’s Tale, the documentary about Misty Copeland’s journey through dance in our list of top Ballet films to binge in isolation. See the rest of the list here.
Brett Chynoweth and Jill Ogai in The Australian Ballet’s 2019 production of Sylvia, photo Jeff Busby
Brett Chynoweth recently spoke to the ABC about what the life of a Principal Artist with The Australian Ballet looks like in our current situation.
Growing up in Melbourne, Brett began dancing at the age of five. He joined The Australian Ballet in 2009, after training at The Australian Ballet School. Brett was the recipient of the DR HC (Nuggett) Combes Travelling Scholarship which enabled him to train in New York and Toronto. He was promoted to Principal Artist at the end of 2018 and you can watch some of Brett’s performance highlights here.
While walking us through his daily routine, Brett reveals some of the difficulties of training at home, as well as the incredible support he, and all the dancers, are receiving from The Australian Ballet.
It’s been almost two months since distancing began, and it’s safe to say our movie lists are slowly dwindling down. We’ve collated some of our favourite ballet-themed movies and documentaries into this list to make sure our Friends get their ballet-fix!
This list is in no particular order, as we couldn’t bear to rank them!
Centre Stage (2000)
‘Centre Stage’ – Columbia Pictures
Ballet’s not all turns and tutus. Follow the new students of the American Ballet Academy as they face the challenges and setbacks of making it in the ballet world. One doesn’t have the ‘body.’ The other has a poor ‘attitude.’ And another lacks the ‘heart.’
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb1oUDMxHvE
Watch on Youtube or Google Play from $3.99. Stream on Netflix
Mao’s Last Dancer (2009)
‘Mao’s Last Dancer – Samuel Goldwyn Films
Growing up in Maoist China, Li Cunxin never challenged or dared questioned his world. At 11, he was chosen by the state to move to Bejing and train as a ballet dancer. But when sent to an American Ballet Summer School, this facade begins to shatter.
Bonus points for this film as the Friends ran the Sydney premiere! Also, Australian Ballet’s own Chengwu Guo acts as teen Li Cunxin!
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uy7f5DMPJAU
Watch on Youtube or Google Play from $3.99. Stream on Stan
White Nights (1985)
‘White Nights’ – Columbia Pictures
Kolya Rodchenko, a defective Russian ballet dancer is forced to return to his homeland after being discovered. The KBG intend for him to return to the Kirvov Academy of Ballet, but after he befriends an American expat, he can’t give up on his dreams of freedom and escape.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHpKeRSLnF8
Watch on Youtube or Google Play from $3.99.
Billy Elliot (2000)
“Billy Elliot”– Universal Pictures
Set in the 1984 UK miner’s strike, follow little Billy Elliot as he tries his hardest to follow his passion for dance and his dream to become a professional ballet dancer. However, ‘ballet’ just isn’t what 11-year-old boys should do.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g1YvKDdIfc Watch on Youtube or Google Play for $3.99.
Black Swan (2010)
“Black Swan” – Fox Searchlight Pictures
Nina achieves the dream of all ballerinas – she is cast as the White Swan, Princess Odette. However, when the artistic director decides others may suit the role better, she slips slowly into madness.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jaI1XOB-bs Watch on Youtube or Google Play for $4.99.
The Red Shoes (1948)
“The Red Shoes” – General Film Distributors
An oldie but a goodie, Victoria Page is torn between her passion with dance and her passionate love with a young composer. With her life mirroring her character in the ballet, Victoria may be dancing to her death.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRV6LPtRUyc Watch now on SBS: On Demand
The White Crow (2019)
“The White Crow” – BBC Films
Rudolf Nureyev travels to Paris to further and fulfill his dream to become a professional ballet dancer. However, resistance from KGB officers put this dream, as well as Rudolf’s life, in a dangerous situation.
Some of our members attended screenings for ‘The White Crow’ last year, but it’s definitely one to re-watch!
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BklqjGWxNMs Watch on Youtube or Google Play for $5.99.
A Ballerina’s Tale – Misty Copeland (2015)
“A Ballerina’s Tale” – Sundance Selects
Ballet was all about fitting the ‘mold.’ Until Misty Copeland pirouette’d it all upside-down. From starting ballet ‘late’ at 13, to not having the “ideal” body type, and finally, to being the FIRST African-American Principal Ballerina at ABT. Follow Misty’s tale in this documentary about her story!
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Y2h6fz2XzQ Watch on Youtube or Google Play for $5.99.
Bolshoi Babylon (2016)
“Bolshoi Babylon” – Altitude Film Distribution
Seeking to uncover answers and secrets about the scandal surrounding the Bolshoi Theatre’s acid attacks in 2013, this documentary takes you behind the curtain like never before, documenting the extraordinary artistic and athletic talents of ballerina’s and the ruthlessness of the ballet world.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TK8uth06SQ&t=6s Watch on Amazon Prime for $4.99
“Girl” – Lukas Dhont
It’s no secret the professional ballet world is tough. But for Lara, a 15-year-old girl born in a boy’s body, it’s just that little bit tougher.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kdzu26tnUTc
Watch on Youtube or Google Play for $5.99.
The Company (2003)
“The Company” – Sony Pictures Classic
Ry, an aspiring ballerina struggles with balancing the demands of being a dancer and her new relationship with Josh, who isn’t from her insular world. Featuring the actual Joffrey company, take a look into the lives of those in The Company.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6rlWpWRPVU Watch on Amazon Prime for $3.99
Dancer – Sergei Polunin Documentary (2016)
“Dancer” – Steven Cantor
He’s the “bad boy of ballet.” Follow the Royal Ballet’s youngest ever principal dancer at age 19, Sergei Polunin, and understand how he walked away from it all, only two years later.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXsP-AAL-7M Watch on Youtube or Google Play from $5.99.
First Position (2011)
“First Position” – First Production Films
Follow six young dancers aged 9-19 prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix in New York City, competing for the place at an elite ballet company or school.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmiBXdBNIXE Watch on Amazon for $3.99
These last two are for the kids!
(Because school nights can be movie nights… right?)
“Ballerina” – Entertainment One
An orphan girl dreams of becoming a ballerina, assuming a new identity to become a pupil at the Grand Opera House in Paris.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a166o4om9OA Watch on Foxtel Go or Youtube/Google Play from $12.99
Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses (2006)
“Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses” – Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Princess Genevieve and her eleven sisters have discovered a magical world through dance, allowing them to understand the strength of imagination and creativity. Can they save their father’s kingdom in time?
Watch the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTFMnqIz51g