Swan Lake’s stars: Lucinda Dunn
Madeleine Eastoe, Robert Curran and Lucinda Dunn. Photography Jim McFarlane

Swan Lake’s stars: Lucinda Dunn

In this series of five interviews, Jane Albert looks at the dancers who have made legendary reputations in the lead roles of Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake. Today we talk to Lucinda Dunn, The Australian Ballet’s longest-serving female principal artist, famous for her portrayal of the Baroness von Rothbart, and now director of the Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy in Sydney. 

You were involved in the initial meeting with the creative trio of Graeme, Janet and Kristian. What were your first impressions?
Graeme put the story to us, which was absolutely intriguing, and in true Murphy style, that story is exactly what panned out. But it wasn’t like he had a grand vision, he [collaborated] with us. It was fascinating to see how he would put it on stage. I believe this is one of Graeme Murphy’s greatest ballets: it’s theatrical, intriguing, beautiful and very clever. And he created it right from scratch. I’m so glad we’re the only ones in the world who have done it. It’s ours, and we have taken it to various countries and audiences around the world. (more…)

27 February 2015

Swan Lake’s stars: Robert Curran
Madeleine Eastoe and Robert Curran. Photography Jim McFarlane

Swan Lake’s stars: Robert Curran

In this series of five interviews, Jane Albert looks at the dancers who have made legendary reputations in the lead roles of Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake. Today we speak to Robert Curran, former principal artist and now artistic director of Louisville Ballet.

What was your first impression of this production of Swan Lake?
One of awe. I was so impressed by the way Graeme, Janet and designer Kristian Fredrikson had re-imagined the story with so much integrity. I could feel something while they were explaining the process that had led to the scenario, and it was the first time I’d experienced that. (more…)


Iggy & Lou Lou – inspired by Giselle
Irene in her studio. Photography Thomas Dallas Watson

Iggy & Lou Lou – inspired by Giselle

It’s a proud day for The Australian Ballet! After years of admiring the Melbourne-based artisan label Iggy & Lou Lou, we’re delighted to unveil our collaboration with them, inspired by our upcoming ballet Giselle. Using motifs drawn from the ballet – lilies, hearts, the Romantic ballerina – they’ve created a capsule collection that evokes the unearthly beauty and poignant tenderness of this immortal work.

We loved visiting artist and designer Irene Grishin Selzer and her partner Peter Selzer in their bright, vine-twined studio to find out more about the meticulous artisan processes they use to produce these pieces.

Photography Thomas Dallas Watson

The Giselle-inspired collection in the making. Photography Thomas Dallas Watson

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25 February 2015

Swan Lake’s stars: Lynette Wills

Swan Lake’s stars: Lynette Wills

In this series of five interviews, Jane Albert looks at the dancers who have made legendary reputations in the lead roles of Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake. Today we speak to Lynette Wills, former principal artist and now an extraordinary photographer whose work appears regularly on this blog.

It’s fair to say Swan Lake was pivotal in your career?
It was an interesting point in my career, when I was considering my future and whether to continue dancing. When the casting first went up I wasn’t even an understudy Baroness. Of course I desperately wanted to be, so being the person I am, I questioned it straight away, and David said, “You’ve been lovely, but it was Graeme and Janet’s casting.” But I lucked in because one day, for some reason every other baroness was sick or in a photo shoot, so they didn’t have anyone for this rehearsal. I remember Graeme being so flippant, and saying, “Do you want to do it Lindy – you don’t have to?”

It was a make-or-break moment. This was my chance. So I got up, I was dancing with Steven [Heathcote], and he said, “Oh you do know it!” I knew every step. The next day everyone was back, so I was back to number-nine understudy. Then a few people got injured, so I went on for the dress rehearsal; then Margaret Illmann got injured, so I went on as the first cast in Melbourne, then to Sydney as first-cast opening night and was promoted that night to principal artist! (more…)

24 February 2015

Swan Lake’s stars: Steven Heathcote

Swan Lake’s stars: Steven Heathcote

In this series of five interviews, Jane Albert looks at the dancers who have made legendary reputations in the lead roles of Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake. Today we speak to Steven Heathcote, The Australian Ballet’s longest-serving principal artist, Murphy’s original prince, and now the company’s Ballet Master

Graeme choreographed Prince Siegfried on you, what was that like?
Creating anything from the beginning is a really exciting process because you don’t know what the end shape will be like, and this was particularly exciting because we knew this was going to be our Swan Lake. The initial period was with myself, Simone Goldsmith and Lisa Bolte [who was helping to train the dancers], and for a two-week period we spent a good few hours a day with Graeme and Janet [Murphy's creative collaborator] intensely workshopping the pas de deux and solo material. There was a slightly pioneering feel about it; not that other companies haven’t done new Swan Lakes before, but it felt like a big first step, and brave on the part of David [McAllister, artistic director] to commission it. (more…)


Swan Lake’s stars: Madeleine Eastoe
Madeleine with Steven Heathcote. Photography David Kelly

Swan Lake’s stars: Madeleine Eastoe

In this series of five interviews, Jane Albert looks at the dancers who have made legendary reputations in the lead roles of Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake. We begin with Principal Artist Madeleine Eastoe, who has danced the role around the world and will perform in our current season.

What was your relationship with Swan Lake prior to Murphy’s production? I’d only ever done a traditional production prior to this one, and never a lead Odette/Odile, as I was still coming up the ranks. But it had always been up there on a pedestal. You know that it’s truly difficult for the principal artists to carry that kind of performance, and I think I was probably a little scared of it. (more…)

19 February 2015