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Kevin Jackson and Lana Jones in Aus Ballet's Sleeping Beauty
Photograph: Jeff BusbyKevin Jackson and Lana Jones in Aus Ballet's Sleeping Beauty

Australian Ballet's Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Romeo & Juliet now free on Ballet TV

Dance company's back catalogue leaps into action online as we all bunker down indoors.

By Stephen A Russell
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These are undoubtedly scary times, but we’re loving arts companies who have nimbly leapt into online to keep us entertained while we ride this out at home. The Australian Ballet has now pirouetted into that honour guard.

In a move akin to National Theatre Live’s free theatrical goodies, the ballet company is popping cinema-quality classics from its back catalogue onto its website.

The free At Home with Ballet TV 2020 Digital Season was launched on Sunday, April 5 with artistic director David McAllister’s celebrated take on The Sleeping Beauty, set to Tchaikovsky’s dreamy score. 

At-home audiences can watch Graeme Murphy’s tragic Romeo & Juliet from May 1 until May 14, when it will be replaced by a triple bill from Graeme Murphy, Wayne McGregor and Stephen Page (May 14-28) followed by La Sylphide (Bruhn after Bournonville) and Paquita (Petipa). A five-month program is planned, so expect plenty more performances. 

Artistic director David McAllister says the company is thrilled to lift spirits by loading up its dancers’ most beautiful moves digitally. “These are challenging times for the world and ballet is something that people can turn to for escapism, fantasy and a sense of hope. We’re confident we have hand-picked a stunning selection of works and we can’t wait to share them.”

McAllister has also launched a five-part how-to guide to mastering ballet steps dubbed ‘Dancing with David’. You can pick up the all-important plié here. Expect a bunch more behind-the-scenes stuff to leap into view pretty soon too.

The madness of 2020 sure is proving to be a memorable final curtain call for McAllister, who will bow out after two decades as head of the company at the end of the year. Read about New York-based American Ballet Theater principal David Hallberg, who will take up his glass slippers next year, here.

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