Queen of the Wilis
Ako Kondo and artists of The Australian Ballet. Photography Jeff Busby

Queen of the Wilis

In Act I of Giselle, the curtain falls on a bucolic village torn apart by madness, grief and loss. In Act II, it rises on another world altogether – the shadowy moonlit realm of the Wilis. This is Myrtha’s moment; for the first long scene of the act, the Queen of the Wilis drifts in and out of her glades, sheds her veil, and dances – first slowly, with long, held-breath penchés; and then faster and faster, with jetés and turns, as if exulting in the life returning to her limbs after the long day under the earth. (more…)

22 April 2015

The Dream: Did you know?
Artist of The Royal Ballet in Ashton's Symphonic Variations. Photography Tristram Kenton

The Dream: Did you know?

Our program The Dream, a bill of three ballets by Frederick Ashton, has three distinct moods, a rich history and a few surprises in store. Here are eight fascinating facts about the ballets and the artists involved in them. (more…)

8 April 2015

Men en pointe
Luke Marchant in training. Photography Kate Longley

Men en pointe

Luke Marchant is one of the dancers cast as Bottom, the “rude mechanical” transformed into a donkey in Frederick Ashton’s The Dream. He tells Rose Mulready what it’s like training en pointe for the role.

RM: How did you begin your training in pointe shoes?

LM: We started up in the Pilates studio, lying down and doing simple rises against the jump boards [Pilates equipment] with the shoes on. When we graduated to the studio we started out with very simple excercises like relevés, just to get used to being en pointe. We’re pretty much doing what most girls do at eleven or twelve, which is when female dancers generally get their first pointe shoes.

Our advantage is that we have big strong “glute” muscles and thighs, and lot of the work we do as Bottom relies on that upper length strength – there’s a lot of hopping en pointe, rather than going up and down through the foot. Although there is a pirouette at the end – a double! (more…)


Irina Baronova: Ballets Russes star

Irina Baronova: Ballets Russes star

We’re counting down the days to this Saturday 4 April, when Hollywood actress Victoria Tennant (best known for her starring role in L.A. Story) will sit down with our artistic director in a special-event McAllister in Conversation. Victoria has written a book on her mother, Irina Baronova and the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo. (more…)

1 April 2015

Behind the Scenes of Giselle
Ballet Master Tristan Message coaches Brett Chynoweth and Natasha Kusen. Photography Daniel Boud

Behind the Scenes of Giselle

If you were at our Behind the Scenes of Giselle event this week – or you’re planning to go to a Behind the Scenes event in Sydney, Adelaide or Perth – here’s a series of fascinating facts to enhance your experience. 

Did you know? …

The combinations of steps that the teacher sets for the dancers in morning class is different each day. Although it looks like the dancers already know what the teachers is asking them to do, they are actually only hearing it for the first time. Their ability to instantly remember exercises is partly an inherent talent, partly the result of a lifetime’s practice. (more…)

20 March 2015

A ghostly dance with Bistro Vue
Jasmin Durham and Emma McFarlane. Photography James Braund

A ghostly dance with Bistro Vue

Red velvet, warm light, a Parisian lilt to the air … and two delicate winged ghosts floating through it all.

Jasmin Durham and Emma McFarlane. Photography James Braund

Emma McFarlane and Jasmin Durham. Photography James Braund

This week, to celebrate the opening of our Giselle season, we took two of our wilis to Shannon Bennett’s French-accented Bistro Vue, where Executive Chef Chris Bonello has taken the ballet as inspiration and created us a bespoke dessert – Giselle’s Berries and Cream. (more…)

13 March 2015