The Australian Ballet | Vanguard: the beauty in the abstract

February 6, 2013

Press Releases

The Australian Ballet | Vanguard: the beauty in the abstract

oz balletKey works from ballet’s game changers: Balanchine, Kylián and McGregor

The Australian Ballet celebrates ground-breaking moments in ballet history with Vanguard,a triple bill of works that challenged perceptions of ballet and set thefoundations for contemporary dance.

George Balanchine stretched classical technique with The Four Temperaments.     Jiří Kylián raised the bar for abstract ballet with Bella Figura. And Wayne       McGregor’s Dyad 1929 redefined ballet for the 21st century.

Vanguard opens at the  Sydney Opera House from 30 April for 20 performances  and then will travel to Arts Centre Melbourne on 6 June.

The Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, David McAllister, believes Vanguard is a program that demonstrates ballet’s modern journey.

“Classical ballet underwent dramatic developments in the 20th century,” explains McAllister. “Moving into this century, the vocabulary of dance continues to evolve in ways that shift people’s expectations of what classical movement can express.”

“All three choreographers have played a role in reinventing and reinvigorating ballet, so it’s a great pleasure to bring three of their best works together in one season,” says McAllister.

Balanchine created The Four Temperaments as a study of the four Ancient Greek “humours”: melancholic, sanguine, phlegmatic and choleric. The choreography is angular, abstract and challenging to perform. Although a break from the ballet styles of its day, it has stood the test of time to make its way into the repertoires of many companies worldwide.

Almost 50 years later, Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián posed fresh  directions for ballet with Bella Figura. Appointed co-artistic director of Nederlands Dans Theater at the age of 28, Kylián has been at the forefront of dance innovation for four decades. He created Bella Figura in 1995 as a meditation on the subconscious. Aiming to create the feeling of standing on the edge of a dream, Kylián created a work that is abstract yet     psychological.

Completing the triple bill is Dyad 1929, created on The Australian Ballet in 2009. English-born McGregor started his own company Wayne McGregor l Random Dance at the age of 22 and is currently resident choreographer at The Royal Ballet. McGregor has established an international reputation as a daring dance maker.

McGregor created twin works in homage to the legacy of the Ballets Russes: The Australian Ballet’s Dyad 1929 and Dyad  1909, a work he created for Random Dance in the same year.   Dyad comes from a Greek word meaning “two” or  “otherness”. 1909 and 1929 refer to the year that Sergei Diaghilev formed the Ballets Russes and the year that he died.

An ensemble of dancers fills the space with dynamic, super-human sequences. Under bright lights dancers move with whippet-like pace,       snapping from one mind-bending formation to the next. The work is demanding to dance and amazing to watch.

With three works that move classical ballet into the realms of human identity, personality and emotion, Vanguard will delight the senses and stimulate the mind.
Choreography       George Balanchine
Music       Paul Hindemith The Four Temperaments
Costume design       Kurt Seligman
Set design       Jean Rosenthal
Lighting design       Ronald Bates

The performance of The Four  Temperaments, a Balanchine® Ballet, is presented by arrangement with The George Balanchine Trust and has been produced in accordance with the Balanchine Style ® and Balanchine Technique® Service Standards established and provided by the Trust.

BELLA FIGURA       (1995)
Choreography       Jiří Kylián
Music       Lukas Foss Salomon       Rossi Suite
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi       Stabat Mater
Alessandro Marcello Oboe       Concerto in D minor (Adagio)
Antonio Vivaldi Concerto       for Two Mandolins
Giuseppe Torelli Concerto       Grossi Op. 8, No. 6
Costume design       Joke Visser (concept Jiří Kylián)
Set design       Jiří Kylián
Lighting design       Tom Bevoort (concept Jiří Kylián)

DYAD 1929       (2009)
Choreography       Wayne McGregor
Music       Steve Reich Double       Sextet
Stage concept       Wayne McGregor & Lucy Carter
Costume design       Moritz Junge
Lighting design       Lucy Carter

Sydney (20 performances)
30 April – 18 May
Sydney Opera House
Joan Sutherland Theatre
with Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra

Melbourne       (12 performances)
6 – 17 June
Arts Centre Melbourne
State Theatre
with Orchestra Victoria


1300 369 741


, , , , ,

Comments are closed.