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Australian ballet


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#1 Guest_AngelinaBallerina_*

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Posted 02 March 2001 - 11:01 PM

I probably won't get many replies to this, but I was just wondering...
How well known is the Australian Ballet and it's dancers overseas???

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 02 March 2001 - 11:05 PM

Probably not very well, Angelina, simply because we only know what we see, and the company doesn't tour all that often. It came to New York last year (two years ago?) and to Washington, D.C. (George Mason University) on that same tour, the first time in a decade.

I don't know if the company goes to the West Coast more often, and have no idea about its trips to Europe. Anyone?

#3 Claire S

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Posted 03 March 2001 - 08:18 PM

I've just watched a couple of Australian Ballet videos kindly sent to me by a dance fan out there. I knew very little about the company - apart from dancers who've come over to the UK such as Greg Horsman/Lisa pavane and now Nigel burley, but I was quite impressed by the company. Their version of The Merry Widow has great joie de vivre and I liked Manon, too - a better video record than the rather dated Royal Ballet version.

I don't know if they tour much but the attention given to Sylvie Guillem when she danced over their last september suggests they don't get many visitors either!

#4 attitude

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Posted 04 March 2001 - 04:41 AM

We do get a few visitors here, we're not that isolated, although the geographic isolation has a lot to do with it, I believe. During the Sydney Festival in January every year there is at least one overseas dance company that is featured in the program. I hope that next year that will not change since there is now a new artistic director for the Sydney Festival. This year it was the National Dance Company of Spain. Last year it was NDT. In 1999 Kirov was here and they danced what must be the most boring version of the Nut. Moscow City Ballet, ENB, also, to name a few. We're frequently visited by dance companies in Asia and Australasia, NDT is almsot a regular too. There was much publicity over the Sylvie Guillem presence in the Olympics Arts Festival, simply because she's Sylvie Guillem not simply because we have a guest. I heard it was quite disappointing Posted Image.

#5 vrsfanatic

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Posted 04 March 2001 - 11:09 AM

Originally posted by AngelinaBallerina:
I probably won't get many replies to this, but I was just wondering...
How well known is the Australian Ballet and it's dancers overseas???

It has been quite a surprise to me how little is known in the USA about many ballet companies outside of the US, not just dance in Australia. After having spent two months in Australia visiting the Australian Ballet and its very fine school in the early '90's, I was quite impressed with the standard as well as the government support given to develope this company and school. This of course was a different time and how things have developed since Gielgud's departure, Gailene Stock's departure and now Stretton's departure is unknown to me. I hear more about Sydney Dance than Australian Ballet. I do know Danilo Radoievich {sp}is there as ballet master, but that is about it.

#6 Alexandra

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Posted 04 March 2001 - 01:03 PM

I have to say that when I did see the company (under Gielgud's directorship) I was not that impressed. They did "Suite en blanc" and Gielgud's production of "Giselle" and "Spartacus." I had to review the Suite/Giselle program, but did not see the "Sparatacus" one. I did the "weekend wrapup" and so saw the Suite/Giselle program several times. Some of the individual soloists were very appealing, but the company was not up to "Suite en blanc" at all, and the "Giselle" was not at the standard of the companies I see regularly.

vrsfanatic, welcome. I think you're right that most dance viewers don't know very much about many companies outside the U.S. Actually, I think most people don't know very much about the companies they don't see, but that would seem to be unavoidable. You can't learn about a company through watching videos alone, and if you don't see a company, it's hard to know about it Posted Image It's also hard to read about companies whose dancers and repertory are completely unfamiliar, so I would imagine that unless someone was determined to learn about every ballet company in the world, s/he wouldn't pay much attention to what articles might exist. There are a lot of European companies who don't tour here and about whom little is written, and there are also American companies that don't tour. Washington has gotten repeat visits from San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Houston Ballet, for example, but Atlanta Ballet has only been here once with a ballet billed for children, and Pittsburgh Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, and many other regional companies haven't been here, at least in the last 25 years.

One of the beauties of ballet is that it is a live art and not a mass art, but there certainly are a lot of limitations!

#7 Claire S

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Posted 04 March 2001 - 05:10 PM

Your reply, Alexandra, about ballet being a live art reminded me how lucky those of living in London are. We have about ten months of the Royal Ballet, a Christmas season from English National ballet and probably a couple more seasons from them too, plus lots of visiting companies. In the next few months we have visits by the Houston Ballet, the Bolshoi (well, "STars of the Bolshoi" doing pas de deux and single acts from the classics to pull in the crowds), the Kirov, San Francisco Ballet and Dutch national Ballet, plus visit by home touring companies Northern Ballet Theatre, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Rambert. Plus there's other companies such Moscow City ballet, touring the country.

If we can afford it (!), we have a great chance to see many different ballets and different styles and to compare and contrast them. It sort of counterbalances the pollution/transport problems/crime etc!

#8 Guest_AngelinaBallerina_*

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Posted 07 March 2001 - 01:29 AM

wow, that was a pretty good response, I didn't expect so many replies!!
I agree with attitude that the geographic situation does hinder a bit our opportunities with visitors.(which is a shame!!)
Thanks, it was really interesting to see the response!

#9 Alexandra

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Posted 07 March 2001 - 10:01 AM

Claire, I have envied London more than once these past five years. You may be getting more of a mix of companies than any city these days. (There are companies that skip New York now because of either the expense of performing there, or because the Met is really not a good theater for dance.)

This may be a topic for discussion rather than a universal truth Posted Image, but I think one learns more about ballet by seeing many companies than by attending the same amount of performances at only one, no matter how fine that company may be.

#10 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 07 March 2001 - 10:58 AM

Originally posted by alexandra:
I think one learns more about ballet by seeing many companies than by attending the same amount of performances at only one, no matter how fine that company may be.


The thing I can say about having a "home company" is it gives you a view over time. I think watching a company in process through repertory gives a valuable depth of perspective, if not breadth.

That being said, I'm glad I see NYCB primarily, not exclusively!


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#11 Alexandra

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Posted 07 March 2001 - 12:14 PM

I didn't mean to imply there was anything wrong with seeing one company primarily, just that breadth is extremely important when it comes to comparing ballet companies. If one sees ONLY one company, the way it dances can become the ONLY acceptable way, or become equated with "correctness." If Londoners are able to see, with regularity, Kirov, Bolshoi, Royal as well as a mix of other visiting companies, I think the city will have a very cosmopolitan and educated ballet audience -- much more so than if it only got to watch the Royal, no matter how good the state of the company was.

It's another thing that goes into making a city a dance capital. You need more than a great company. You need to see other great companies (and the not so great ones, too. Lots to learn there Posted Image )

#12 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 07 March 2001 - 12:25 PM

I agree! Viewing is a three-dimensional art, it seems, depth makes less sense without breadth and vice versa. I think I would actually like NYCB less if I didn't have other companies as a point of reference (and I probably would like the other companies less rather than more without NYCB. Depth for passion, breadth for perspective!)

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#13 Alexandra

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Posted 07 March 2001 - 01:56 PM

I really like your "depth for passion, breadth for perspective."

Which actually can bring us back to the Australian Ballet (and New Zealand). It was one of the very difficultl things, I think, in bringing ballet to those countries, because of the isolation. Of course dancers travel and people get out and see things, and companies came there (as we know, Pavlova went to Australia, well before the Concorde!) But it isn't as easy as it would be in a city that's more of a crossroads.

#14 Michael

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Posted 07 March 2001 - 05:20 PM

When the Australian Ballet performed at City Center, New York City, for a week about two seasons ago, they had some very impressive dancers. I remember that there was one tall, blond male dancer, a danseur noble type cut from the Peter Martins mold a bit, who impressed. And among the women, Nicole Rhodes and Justine Summers were very striking. I wish we had the opportunity to see more of them.

#15 attitude

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Posted 08 March 2001 - 04:34 AM

Well, the very beautiful Justine Summers is now retired (at 30), such a shame, hopefully she'll make a comeback. The tall blond might have been Geon Van der Weist (sp?) who's now witht the NB of Canada.


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