The Australian Ballet will return to NYC after more than a decade-long absence as part of its 50th-anniversary celebration, presenting three North American premieres at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, June 12 - 17, 2012.
The company will present two distinctly Australian programs. A perfect illustration of the company's innovative and dynamic style is Graeme Murphy's critically acclaimed Swan Lake, which has won more than ten major awards and sold out theatres at home and around the world.
The second program is an Australian mixed-bill featuring Wayne McGregor's Dyad 1929 (created on The Australian Ballet's dancers in 2009) and a new work in collaboration with indigenous dance company Bangarra Dance Theatre, choreographed by artistic director Stephen Page. This exciting partnership between Australia's leading dance companies will premiere locally in February 2012 before heading to New York for its international debut. A yet-to-be-announced third work will complete the all-Australian line-up.
An exclusive pre-sale will take place in early November 2011, with general public tickets available shortly after.
The Australian Ballet's Artistic Director, David McAllister, is thrilled to be bringing the company back to New York with a stellar repertoire that showcases the dancers' strength and artistry.
"In our 50th anniversary year, we are in peak form and this is an amazing opportunity to see the company perform stunning works which have defined and shaped us. This is our eighth tour of the United States, and we love performing there," said McAllister. "These works are all unique to The Australian Ballet and I can't wait to share them with American audiences for the very first time."
On the company's last visit in 1999, the New York Times applauded the "sleekness, clarity and modern spirit" of the dancers, a tour that included the Bangarra collaboration Rites. In 2012, the company will be travelling to New York with a touring party of 120 members. The dancers will be joined by artistic, technical, wardrobe, medical and music staff. More than 650 costumes and 250 pairs of pointe shoes will travel 16,500 kilometres to reach their destination.
International touring has always been an important part of The Australian Ballet's vision. The company has visited 37 countries and 87 cities in its lifetime, growing its global reputation for technical excellence, versatility and dramatic flair.
Swan Lake (2002), choreographed by Graeme Murphy
Set to Tchaikovsky's lush score, this is Murphy's modern interpretation of the classic story of love and betrayal between a princess, her prince and a woman with a prior claim on his heart. At once an homage to the grandeur of 19th-century classicism and an invigorating update that speaks to today's audiences, this production has won ten major awards and sold out theatres across Australia and around the world.
Graeme Murphy was born in Melbourne and studied at The Australian Ballet School. He served as Artistic Director of Sydney Dance Company for 31 years, is a recipient of the Order of Australia and was named a National Living Treasure in 1999 by the National Trust of Australia.
Murphy's many directing and choreographic credits include the upcoming world premiere of Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake, Nutcracker-- the Story of Clara, Firebird and The Silver Rose (The Australian Ballet); Metamorphosis, Turandot, Salome and The Trojans (Opera Australia); Tivoli (a Sydney Dance Company/Australian Ballet co-production); and Embodied (Mikhail Baryshnikov). He has also choreographed Death in Venice (Canadian Opera Company), Samson et Dalila (The Metropolitan Opera, New York) the movie Mao's Last Dancer, and the Australian production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies in May 2011.
Dyad 1929 (2009), choreographed by Wayne McGregor
Dyad 1929, which means 'two' or 'otherness', was created as part of a diptych, preceding Dyad 1909, which premiered at Sadler's Wells, London. The kinetic piece is set to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Double Sextet by Steve Reich, and was inspired by the creativity and passion of Diaghilev's world famous Ballets Russes and the rapidly changing world events of the 1920s. McGregor created this new work on the dancers of The Australian Ballet.
Wayne McGregor is a multi award-winning British choreographer renowned for his physically testing choreography and ground-breaking collaborations across dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science mediums. He is the artistic director of Wayne McGregor/Random Dance, resident company at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London and resident choreographer of The Royal Ballet since 2006. In January 2011, McGregor was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire).
Bangarra Dance Theatre, choreographed by Stephen Page
(World premiere in collaboration with The Australian Ballet, February 2012)
Bangarra is Australia's premier Indigenous performing arts company that bases its work on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions and stories. Established in 1989 and under the artistic leadership of Stephen Page for the last twenty years, Bangarra's ensemble of 14 dancers has developed a potent, original and distinctive style and tours throughout Australia and internationally. Winners of multiple awards, Bangarra has created a powerful dance theatre language that unifies the past and the present.
A descendant of the Nunukul people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh tribe from southeast Queensland, Stephen Page has developed an extraordinary signature body of work including Alchemy (1996), Rites (1997) and Amalgamate (2006) for The Australian Ballet and over 17 original works for Bangarra. Stephen was named NSW Australian of the Year in 2008 in recognition of his efforts to bring cultures together through the performing arts and his commitment to mentoring young Indigenous artists. In 2010, Stephen was honoured at the prestigious Australian Dance Awards for his Services to Dance and accepted Bangarra Dance Theatre's award for 'Outstanding Performance by a Company' for Fire: A Retrospective.
The Australian Ballet
Founded in 1962, The Australian Ballet is one of Australia's flagship arts companies, and for five decades has been the defining face of ballet in Australia. One of the busiest ballet companies in the world, The Australian Ballet annually presents over 630 performances and education events throughout Australia, in addition to regular international touring. Recent tours include the landmark 2008 tour to Paris, Manchester and London with Bangarra Dance Theatre. In 2005 the company performed Graeme Murphy's Swan Lake in London where the performances were awarded the UK Critics' Circle award for 'Best Foreign Dance Company'. Versatility, technical excellence and a warm, friendly style are the trademarks of The Australian Ballet, qualities that have earned both critical and audience acclaim. The Australian Ballet's diverse repertoire reflects the company's vision: caring for tradition, daring to be different. Each year, it performs works from the classical repertoire as well as contemporary works by major Australian and international choreographers and new commissions that explore the development and future of this dynamic art form.
David McAllister, a graduate of The Australian Ballet School, joined the company in 1983. He was promoted to senior artist in 1986 and to principal artist in 1989. His many principal roles with the company included those in Onegin, Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Coppélia, Manon and La Sylphide. In 1985 he won a bronze medal at the Fifth International Ballet Competition in Moscow, which saw him invited to return to the USSR as a guest artist where he made numerous appearances with the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballets. He danced for the final time in Giselle in March 2001 at the Sydney Opera House and became artistic director of The Australian Ballet in July 2001. He was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2004 Australia Day Honours List and was elected Vice President of the Royal Academy of Dance in 2005.
The Australian Ballet will present six performances at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center from June 12 - 17, 2012 (no performance June 14). Pre-sale tickets will go on sale in November, 2011. For further information, visit www.australianballet.com.au