| The Australian Ballet celebrates a long-standing
love affair with British ballet in a triple bill
spanning three generations.
British Liaisons features three of the biggest
names in British choreography. Sharing the illustrious bill are Royal Ballet founder
Ninette de Valois, the inimitable Sir Kenneth MacMillan and contemporary ballet legend Christopher Wheeldon.
British Liaisons opens in Sydney on 3 May
before travelling to Melbourne on 25 August.
Two of the ballets on this bill, de Valois’
Checkmate and MacMillan’s Concerto, are
making a much anticipated return after a considerable break from The Australian Ballet’s repertoire. Concerto has not been performed in
its entirety since its company debut in 1974 and
Checkmate was last staged in full in 1992.
Completing the trio is Wheeldon’s modern masterpiece, After the Rain©, which makes a welcome return after its critically acclaimed
Artistic Director David McAllister chose these
works to recognise the important role British choreographers have played in shaping
The Australian Ballet.
“British ballet was crucial in the development of
our own distinctive Australian style of movement”, explains McAllister.
“The Royal Ballet tour in 1956 under Ninette de Valois was a real turning point for ballet in this country. Not long after, her associate Peggy van Praagh moved to Australia permanently and went
on to become The Australian Ballet’s founding
A timeless tale of love and betrayal, Checkmate
was gifted to The Australian Ballet by de Valois in 1986. With the role of the Red King conceived on Australian Sir Robert Helpmann, this ballet has a special significance to the company.
As each chess piece plays its part, relationships
are revealed and tested. The legendary score by Arthur Bliss adds further drama to the arresting choreography. Climaxing with a grand battle
between love and death, this game of chess is anything but boring.