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The Australian Ballet 2018 season launch image feat Brett Chynoweth and Alice Topp (c) Time Out Australia photographer credit Daniel Boud
Photograph: Daniel BoudAustralian Ballet dancers Brett Chynoweth and Alice Topp

The Australian Ballet’s 2018 line-up is a Greatest Hits list

Dee Jefferson

In their 55th year, the Australian Ballet are keeping things in-house, with a season that draws exclusively on new and existing works created specifically for the company – by major choreographers including former Bolshoi Ballet director (and current American Ballet Theatre resident) Alexei Ratmansky, and Australia’s own doyen of dance, Graeme Murphy.

Cinderella 2018 The Australian Ballet supplied production still 2013 feat Ty King-Wall and Amber Scott photographer credit Lynette Wills
Ty King-Wall and Amber Scott in Cinderella (2013)
Photograph: Lynette Wills (c) The Australian Ballet

Having premiered to acclaimed in 2013, Ratmansky’s Cinderella, created in residence with the dancers of the Australian Ballet, will return to Sydney in 2018. Set to Prokofiev’s melancholic score, and transposing the fairytale to 1930s Russia, the piece sits somewhere between the dark and twisted Grimm version and the Disney-ready Charles Perrault version of the story. If you love classical ballet, this is a chance to see the world’s foremost contemporary proponent of it in full flight.

The season will open, however, with a tribute to a local superstar: choreographer (and former Australian Ballet dancer) Graeme Murphy. Titled Murphy, the bill will feature Murphy’s acclaimed 2009 take on ‘Firebird’ (created for the Australian Ballet, as part of a triple bill paying homage to major 20th century works by the Ballet Russes), alongside a series of shorter works created during his tenure as artistic director of Sydney Dance Company.

The Australian Ballet are also bringing back a classic of their repertoire: The Merry Widow, which was the first feature-length ballet commissioned by the company, in 1975, and featured the twin talents of dancer and theatre director Robert Helpmann and choreographer Ronald Hynd.

And it’s not just about big names: the Australian Ballet is championing fresh talent in 2018, most notably with the world premiere of a major new production of Spartacus, choreographed by young dancer and theatre-maker Lucas Jervies (who choreographed the movement sequences of Belvoir’s Mr Burns earlier in 2017, and the dance sequences in Opera Australia’s harbourside production of Aida in 2015). Set to Aram Khachaturian’s well-known score, Jervies’ take on the famous tale of rebellion will showcase the talents of the company’s male dancers.

The Australian Ballet 2018 Sydney season:

April 6-23
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

The Merry Widow
April 28-May 19
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

Nov 9-24
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

Nov 30-Dec 19
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House 

2018 season packages for the Australian Ballet’s Sydney performances go on sale from Wed September 27, 9am.

See what’s on stage in Sydney in October.

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