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A promo shot for Jade Wood at the Australian Ballet
Photograph: Justin Ridler

Australian Ballet 2016 season

Much-loved classics and edgy contemporary pieces share the spotlight in artistic director David McAllister’s 2016 season

By Rose Johnstone
If 2015 was the Australian Ballet’s ‘year of beauty’, then 2016 delves into darker (yet no less ambitious) territory, with classic and contemporary works depicting turbulent romances, supernatural forces and a tortured genius. “Ballet has the ability to transform,” says McAllister. “This is a richly dynamic and diverse season which I am proud to present.”
An anticipated highlight of the season will be the Australian premiere of Nijinsky (Sep 7-17) an emotional tribute to the Ballets Russes prodigy, lauded as one of the greatest dancers and choreographers of the 20th century. Created by master choreographer John Neumeier and first performed by the Hamburg Ballet in 2000, Nijinsky tells the story of the dancer’s meteoric rise to fame, the controversy around his sensual choreography, and his battle with mental illness that eventually saw him pass away in a mental institution in 1950.
Following the huge success and critical acclaim of 2015’s 20:21, contemporary ballet will again come to the fore with Vitesse (Mar 11-21), which will featuring new works by three world-famous choreographers: Christopher Wheeldon, Jiří Kylián and William Forsythe.
On the other end of the spectrum are lavish productions of ballet classics. Stephen Baynes’ traditional staging of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake (Jun 7-18), created by the resident choreographer for the Australian Ballet’s 50th anniversary in 2012, will return for an encore run, complete with Edwardian set design by the masterful Hugh Coleman.
The talented Stanton Welch, who is both a resident choreographer with the Australian Ballet and artistic director of Houston Ballet, will bring his much-loved production of Romeo and Juliet (Jun 30-Jul 9) exclusively to Melbourne. Rounding out the season will be the family favourite fairytale Coppélia (Sep 23-Oct 1).

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