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Sunday Arts Magazine

31 Oct 2022

Australian Ballet Summer Season

Arts, Performing Arts, Sunday Arts Magazine, Visual Arts

Australian Ballet Summer Season
The Australian Ballet School, the national centre for elite ballet, presents its much-loved end of year performance with over 100 of their full-time artists in training taking to stage for Summer Season with Butterfly at Arts Centre Melbourne on 9 and 10 December 2022.

The dynamic ability and grace of the students will be showcased as they perform a program of classical and contemporary works created by Australian choreographers Lucas Jervies, Simon Dow, Stephen Baynes and Paul Knobloch.

At the heart of the program is the magical title work Butterfly, which recently toured to Sydney receiving critical praise.  Choreographed by former graduate Lucas Jervies, this modern fairy tale told through movement, beautifully blends themes of realism and magic with classic and contemporary techniques.

The extraordinary artistry of the cast of 60 pre-professional dancers, transports audiences to a magical world through transformative sets and costumes by revered designer Hugh Colman.

“Reflection and journey are the heart of Butterfly. It’s an honour to work on this production with young emerging artists who are now in the position I was in 24 years ago at The Australian Ballet School. For me, the metaphor of the butterfly – to transform – is infinite. It’s a constantly evolving process. This production itself has evolved, with a new cast of dancers stepping into the roles this year, and making them new,” said Choreographer, Lucas Jervies.

Set to the joyous score ‘Le Papillon’ (The Butterfly) by Jacques Offenbach, Butterfly is a tale of 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.

In his other work on the program, π, students use their entire bodies as instruments of dance, percussion and vocalisation.  This exhilarating contemporary work was created by choreographer Lucas Jervies in conjunction with musician of The Australian Ballet School Oliver Northam.

Paul Knobloch has also choreographed two dance works for the program including The Jewellery Box, a charming classical ballet featuring symmetry, beauty and some challenging choreographic moments that showcase the Level 5 students’ skilful abilities. His other work is a dynamic movement dialogue with Level 7 students expressing thoughts, feelings, ideas without words and that moment in time when our thoughts become memories, In Memory of The Moment.

Wolfgang Dance, choreographed by Simon Dow and set to music from Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, is a joyous and cheeky performance from Level 4 and 5 students with the young dancers in 18th century-style white wigs and attire.

Dow is set to retire from The Australian Ballet School at the end of the year, having fulfilled a spectacular 10-year tenure.  The widely admired dancer, choreographer and educator graduated from The Australian Ballet School before going on to dance with the Stuttgart Ballet and become Principal Dancer with The Australian Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Boston Ballet and an international guest artist. Dow also held leadership positions as Artistic Director of Milwaukee Ballet and West Australian Ballet, and was Associate Artistic Director for Washington Ballet, during his remarkable career.

Set to a stunning musical mix of Argentinian composers, El Tango choreographed by Stephen Baynes is performed by Level 8 students – their final performance before they graduate.  A social gathering around tables and chairs providing the setting for this evocative performance piece.

Lisa Pavane, Director of The Australian Ballet School says, “These performances are the culmination of a very full and rewarding year for The Australian Ballet School. The mixed program is designed to delight audiences, and provide all of our young talent with the opportunity to shine. Our beautiful Butterfly is a fitting finale to 2022; the butterfly is the perfect metaphor to be explored and performed by our transforming young artists-in-training.”

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