It is our great pleasure to invite all Friends of The Australian Ballet members and followers, to join us at our next live and online event. Hosted by Friends President Greg Khoury and featuring special guest Alice Topp – one of Australia’s most exciting and acclaimed young choreographers.
Alice will talk us through her creative process in developing her choreography, and how she is pushing our idea of what ballet is through her upcoming initiative Project Animo.
Monday 25th October | Online
5-6pm Discussion and Q&A
Born and raised in Bendigo, Alice started dancing at the age of four. After two years dancing with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, she joined The Australian Ballet as a dancer in 2007, where her choreographic identity first emerged. Her first work, Trace, was created for The Australian Ballet’s 2010 season of its choreographic showcase ‘Bodytorque’. Between 2011 and 2014, Alice would go on to create three more works for Bodytorque, refining her craft and gaining the attention of critics and company directors alike. In 2016, Alice choreographed the critically acclaimed work Little Atlas, which appeared on The Australian Ballet’s mainstage ‘Symphony in C’ program in 2016 and 2017.
In 2018, Alice created her first mainstage one act work Aurum, which premiered as part of the company’s ‘Verve’ program, and went on to its international debut the following year at New York’s leading contemporary dance venue, The Joyce Theater. In 2018, Alice was appointed one of The Australian Ballet’s Resident Choreographers. In 2019, she was invited to spend a month with Studio Wayne McGregor in the United Kingdom, creating a piece for The Grange Festival. The duet she created on the company, Clay, went on to form the basis for a larger work titled Logos for The Australian Ballet’s 2020 ‘Volt’ program, which included two works by McGregor.
Alice has been nominated for a Green Room Award (Little Atlas, 2017) and for three Australian Dance Awards (Aurum, 2018, Same Vein, 2014, Trace, 2010). In 2019, Aurum saw Alice and her creative team win the Helpmann Award for Best Ballet, and a nomination for an Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography. She has choreographed music videos for artists including Megan Washington, LANKS and Ben Folds, and has been invited to create works for Houston Ballet II and Queensland Ballet.
Most recently, Alice has co-founded Project Animo, which brings together a collective of independent artistic voices and talent from across Australia’s dance landscape. As creative director, she is collaborating with other beloved Australian Ballet alumni such as Deborah Brown, Madeleine Eastoe, Rudy Hawkes, Andrew Killian, Leanne Stojmenov.
RSVP by midday Monday 25th October | Places are limited
This online event is free for members and $5 for non-members
Event access details will be provided upon RSVP.
THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED – ALL TICKET HOLDERS WILL BE CONTACTED SHORTLY
For The Friends of The Australian Ballet in association with Palace Opera & Ballet
Join ballet aficionado Leo Schofield AM for a pre-screening presentation of Le Parc, a Ballet in three acts, specifically created for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1994 by choreographer Angelin Preljocaj.
Preljocaj explores the laws of attraction and the games we play, finding a subtle balance between the classical genius of Mozart’s music and the modernity of his choreographic language.
Thierry Leproust’s perfectly chiselled sets evoke the elegance and refinement of a French style garden while Hervé Pierre’s costumes draw inspiration from the Age of Enlightenment.
Advancing to the caprices of an imaginary Carte du Tendre and guided by strange gardeners, the dancers awaken to love, from first encounters to seduction, from timidity to attraction, from resistance to the sweet appeal of abandon in sublimely soaring “pas de deux”. Even today, this timeless work continues to explore the codes of love and the way human feelings develop.
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Created specifically for the Paris Opera Ballet in 1994 by choreographer Angelin Preljocal, there are countless reasons why Le Parc has become a timeless classic.
When desire is part of the game, the carte du Tendre is also a card to play. Love at first sight and gambles come together in the groves of Le Parc. Marivaux like, Preljocaj’s choreography – created in 1994 for the Paris Opera Ballet – reshuffles the cards for the game of love and chance.
Female desire (Così fan tutte), debauchery (Don Giovanni) and true love (Die Zauberflöte): Mozart’s scores form the soundtrack for the century of Laclos, Sade, Crébillon and Vivant Denon. In Le Parc, Mozart is Preljocaj’s musical accomplice: concertos, quartets and symphonies give rhythm to a work that gives form to the desires of the heart and mind.
Be it the gardens of the carte du Tendre – the landscape of love charted out by Madame de Scudéry or the royal alleys at Versailles where Le Nôtre created the ideal backdrop for all things playful, the garden is above all a secret one when it comes to love.
“Divertimento”, “A Musical Joke”, “Serenade”, “A little Night Music”: the pages from Mozart selected by Angelin Preljocaj evoke hours of the day and night – moments in a sophisticated art of loving. Music and dance echo one another: in a conversation transposed into sound, a quartet of gardeners reply to a string quartet. Set to an electronic score by Goran Vejvoda, these little cupids guide the dancers along in a timeless game.
The society of the age of Enlightenment has given way to an entertainment based one: “The world parades and surges across the small screen”, says Preljocaj, “and we remain transfixed”. And yet, as the French writer Philippe Sollers says, the 18th century was a “forward” one. With Le Parc, the choreographer draws on the source of French libertinage. Dance finds new momentum that brings into perspective the games of seduction of our times.
“A masterpiece. There are dances that entertain us, and then there are a few that have the power to truly move us.” Alexandra Desvignes, BACHTRACK
Join ballet aficionado Leo Schofield for a pre-screening presentation of Le Parc on 18 July at Palace Cinemas Verona to hear why Leo thinks Le Parc is a masterpiece of dance.
Tickets on sale now
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Image courtesy Paris Opera Ballet
The Australian Ballet School will soon be returning to Sydney to present Butterfly, their first new production in 18 years.
A modern fairy tale told through movement, Butterfly will feature 100 full-time students of The Australian Ballet School, showcasing the next generation of emerging Australian dance artists.
Choreographed by former graduate Lucas Jervies and created in the studios of The Australian Ballet School, Butterfly beautifully blends themes of realism and magic with classic and contemporary techniques. Designed to appeal to all ages, the original production will be brought to life by the extraordinary artistry of pre-professional dancers and will transport audiences to another world through the transformative sets and costumes by revered designer Hugh Colman.
Set to the joyous score Le Papillon (The Butterfly) by Jacques Offenbach, Butterfly is a tale that follows a young boy who vies for the attention of the smartest girl in school. On an excursion to the butterfly enclosure at the Zoo, they immerse themselves in the kingdom of butterflies, momentarily forgetting the world outside and embarking on a magical journey.
Butterfly will take flight at The Concourse in Chatswood for three performances on 2 – 3 July and we are thrilled to be presenting opportunities for members to engage with creatives from the School.
Pre-Performance Drinks with Lucas Jervies
12.15pm Saturday 3 July | The Concourse Theatre
Join us for pre-performance drinks in The Concourse Theatre Foyer. Catch up with other members over a glass of bubbles and chat with Lucas Jervies about the process of creating Butterfly for the ABS before watching the matinee performance.
Members Only – Chairman’s Dinner with Lisa Pavane, Lucas Jervies, Hugh Colman
6pm Tuesday 29 June | The Concourse + Mama Mulan
Watch half an hour of student from the ABS rehearse on stage at The Concourse before joining us for an intimate dinner hosted by Friends Chairperson Greg Khoury. While enjoying a delicious Chinese banquet in a private dining room at Mama Mulan, Greg will lead discussion with Lisa, Lucas and Hugh.
Tickets for other Sydney performances are on sale now and can be purchased via Ticketek.
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.