• Lucinda Dunn: On Manon and moving on
    Lucinda Dunn. Photography Lynette Wills
  • Lucinda Dunn: On Manon and moving on

Lucinda Dunn: On Manon and moving on

Lucinda Dunn OAM is a legend of Australian dance, and The Australian Ballet’s longest-serving ballerina. Tonight, after her performance in Manon at the Sydney Opera House, she’ll bid farewell to the stage. She talks to us about interpreting Manon, her partnership with Robert Curran, and her next move.

BB: It’s unusual for a ballerina of your experience to be performing the role of Manon for the first time. How have you approached your interpretation?

Lucinda: Yes, in 2008, the last time The Australian Ballet did Manon, I was pregnant! It’s always been a role I wanted to dance. I was in the production as a young dancer in the 1990s, playing a courtesan, then the Mistress, so I know the ballet really well and I’ve watched a lot of different dancers tackle the role of Manon. Without exactly thinking, “Oh, I would interpret it like that!”, your brain is ticking away, and I had a really clear idea of how I wanted to approach the role. This ballet is such a journey for the main character, from innocent girl to woman of the world to broken victim. There are so many layers to Manon and so many different ways to interpret her. (more…)

23 April 2014

In the studios: Petite Mort
Joseph Chapman and Cristiano Martino. Photography Lynette Wills.

In the studios: Petite Mort

We’re in full swing rehearsing Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort, part of our Chroma program. In this lyrical ballet, props – including crinolines and apples – add deft touches of wit in tune with the Mozart score.

See Petite Mort when Chroma opens in Sydney (from 29 April) and Melbourne (from 6 June). Book tickets


Ballet Imperial: The designs
Hugh Colman's costume sketches for Ballet Imperial

Ballet Imperial: The designs

The gasp-worthy Mariinsky-blue tutus of Ballet Imperial are some of the most beautiful costumes in our repertoire. Take a peek inside our “costume bible” at Hugh Colman’s designs, which capture the pomp and luxury of the Russian imperial court.

See George Balanchine’s homage to his homeland as part of our Imperial Suite program, from 2 May in Sydney and from 20 June in Melbourne. Buy tickets

22 April 2014

Exiled to Louisiana
Imogen Chapman and artists of The Australian Ballet in Manon. Photography Lynette Wills

Exiled to Louisiana

Passion, drama, gorgeous pas de deux – Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon is rightly regarded as one of ballet’s 20th-century classics. But amid the pleasure and the seduction, the rags and the riches, it’s easy to forget that this fictional tragedy is framed by real-life events. These events deeply affected the reaction of the French public when the book Manon Lescaut first appeared in 1731. So let’s take a look at the historical background to the Manon story, one involving exile and death in colonial New Orleans. (more…)


Lucinda’s choice
Lucinda Dunn. Photography Lynette Wills

Lucinda’s choice

In the lead-up to her retirement, Lucinda Dunn would like to share these photographs with you. They’re some of her lesser-seen favourites, showing this celebrated ballerina in intimate studio moments and sleek modern ballets. All of them are taken by Lynette Wills, a former principal artist of The Australian Ballet, and a friend and colleague of Lucinda’s.

As a farewell present for Lucinda, we’re collecting her many fans’ favourite memories of her. What’s your most cherished moment?

16 April 2014

Want this up-do?
Laura Tong: Mistressy glamour

Want this up-do?

Here it is … “The Mistress” in eight easy steps.

Lescaut’s Mistress in Manon has fiery hair to match her mettlesome nature. Most of the dancers who take on the role are redheads just for the night – but not Soloist Laura Tong! As she’s blessed with a thick, curly mane, Laura decided to use her own hair instead of a wig. Armed with a card of the exact shade used in the production, Laura went to her hairdresser and got her hair tinted “Mistress Red” – and has become an expert at the up-do. Here’s how she does it.

Step 1: Start with a long, thick fall of “Mistress Red” hair

Laura Tong - hair1

Step 2: It’s all about height, so build a high bun at the centre of the head

Laura Tong - hair2 (more…)

15 April 2014