The nutcracker doll: a history
The Australian Ballet's Nutcracker takes a breather outside our Melbourne HQ

The nutcracker doll: a history

Before the Nutcracker is transformed into a charming prince, he’s something of an ugly duckling. That grimace, those staring eyes. Those teeth! Could there be a uglier harbinger of Christmas than a nutcracker doll?

Well, yes. These days a visit inside a Christmas shop can reveal a veritable cave of saucer-eyed elves, dazed plastic angels and Santas that look like they’ve had one eggnog too many. Yet, within the modern pantheon of Christmas critterines, the traditional Nutcracker is unique. Resplendent in his uniform, he is neither Christian missive nor a meddler from our pagan past. So how did this awkward-looking, über-practical piece of German hardware become an icon of our Western yuletide celebrations? (more…)

29 August 2014

La Bayadére: in the studio
Madeleine Eastoe and Daniel Gaudiello. Photography Lynette Wills

La Bayadére: in the studio

Nikiya comes to Solor as a ghost in a vision, and they seal their love beyond the grave in a delicate, yearning pas de deux. Here’s a glimpse of this sublime La Bayadére moment in rehearsal.

La Bayadére opens tomorrow in Melbourne – hurry to get your tickets!

Madeleine Eastoe and Daniel Gaudiello. Photography Lynette Wills

Madeleine Eastoe and Daniel Gaudiello. Photography Lynette Wills

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27 August 2014

Karen Nanasca – Nailed it
Coryphée Karen Nanasca shows off her La Bayadère costume inspired nails.

Karen Nanasca – Nailed it

As we prepare our glammest outfits for the La Bayadère opening night, we thought we’d share a fashion trend straight from The Australian Ballet dance studios. Coryphée Karen Nanasca has started a trend – matching your nail polish with your leotard. It’s not just Karen who has been styling her rehearsal outfits. Dancers Ingrid Gow, Benedicte Bemet, Rina Nemoto and Sarah Thompson have all taken up the trend. Karen’s Instagram is full of gorgeous photos of dancers and their artfully matched nails, all captured with the hash tag #nailedit.

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Rehearsing La Bayadère
Artists of The Australian Ballet. Photography Lynette Wills

Rehearsing La Bayadère

The drama, the love story, the beauty, the harem pants, the tutus! The action-packed splendour of La Bayadère is taking shape in our studios.

Get your tickets for La Bayadère – it opens in Melbourne next Thursday 28 August!

Jessica Fyfe. Photography Lynette Wills

Jessica Fyfe. Photography Lynette Wills

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22 August 2014

La Bayadère: Making the snakes
Choreographer Stanton Welch, John-Paul Idaszak and AboutFace's python.

La Bayadère: Making the snakes

A deadly snake plays a key role in La Bayadère, hissing from its basket to bite Nikiya, the beautiful rival of the villainess Gamzatti. Houston Ballet uses live snakes when they dance Stanton Welch’s production of the ballet, but that’s a no-go on Australian stages. Much as we love a live snake (the non-venomous kind, of course!) there are advantages to using puppets – apparently, the live ones don’t always feel like performing!

We are fortunate enough to have our La Bayadère snakes made by the talented folk at AboutFace, who were behind such pieces of alchemy as the pelicans for Sydney Theatre Company’s Storm Boy and the dogs in the Hairy Mclary stage show. AboutFace’s Annie Forbes and Tim Denton stopped off for a chat on their way to deliver the snakes to our wardrobe department. (more…)

21 August 2014

The nominees: Dimity Azoury
Dimity in a still from her Telstra Ballet Dancer Award nominee video

The nominees: Dimity Azoury

Dimity Azoury is one of six nominees for the 2014 Telstra Ballet Dancer Award. Here’s our chat with this talented dancer.

How did you first fall in love with performance? Tell us about that moment.
When I was a little girl I loved being on stage pretending I was a character. If I was in a tutu on stage I was always a bit nervous but give me a character – my first character solo was as Pocahontas – and I just loved it! These days I’ve realised that I don’t have to be performing a narrative ballet to find a story or an emotive reason for dancing, which helps with the nerves now that I am older! My first big taste of dancing on stage as a professional was with The Dancers’ Company. I loved having the opportunity to perform something consistently for five weeks. I was so familiar with the ballet that I could go out each night without any hesitations – trying for more turns and longer balances and really enjoying my character! I’ve always loved dancing but I think that was when I truly fell in love with being on stage.

Dimity in Paquita. Photography Jeff Busby

Dimity in Paquita. Photography Jeff Busby

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20 August 2014