Lucinda’s choice
Lucinda Dunn. Photography Lynette Wills

Lucinda’s choice

In the lead-up to her retirement, Lucinda Dunn would like to share these photographs with you. They’re some of her lesser-seen favourites, showing this celebrated ballerina in intimate studio moments and sleek modern ballets. All of them are taken by Lynette Wills, a former principal artist of The Australian Ballet, and a friend and colleague of Lucinda’s.

As a farewell present for Lucinda, we’re collecting her many fans’ favourite memories of her. What’s your most cherished moment?

16 April 2014

Want this up-do?
Laura Tong: Mistressy glamour

Want this up-do?

Here it is … “The Mistress” in eight easy steps.

Lescaut’s Mistress in Manon has fiery hair to match her mettlesome nature. Most of the dancers who take on the role are redheads just for the night – but not Soloist Laura Tong! As she’s blessed with a thick, curly mane, Laura decided to use her own hair instead of a wig. Armed with a card of the exact shade used in the production, Laura went to her hairdresser and got her hair tinted “Mistress Red” – and has become an expert at the up-do. Here’s how she does it.

Step 1: Start with a long, thick fall of “Mistress Red” hair

Laura Tong - hair1

Step 2: It’s all about height, so build a high bun at the centre of the head

Laura Tong - hair2 (more…)

15 April 2014

  • The tutu: a love affair
    Miwako Kubota in costume for Ballet Imperial. Photography Paul Scala
  • The tutu: a love affair
    Sarah Thompson in costume for Ballet Imperial. Still from The Tutu documentary

The tutu: a love affair

Named after the French slang for “bottom”, and as familiar to our dancers as their toothbrushes, the tutu still casts a spell. In this beautiful pictorial, our dancers tell us what they love about their favourite tutus.

Tutu - a love affair - main_0002_Layer 2
Photography Jo Duck

Juliet Burnett, rehearsal tutu
We rehearse for “tutu roles” in half-tutus, an unadorned tutu comprising of just the basque and the skirt. They make part of our work uniform – perhaps as cumbersome, but a tad more elegant, than an astronaut’s spacesuit or a diver’s oxygen tank and flippers. It’s important for us to wear the tutu during rehearsals in order to deal with its challenges as we learn the choreography, especially for a pas de deux so that our partners can negotiate this very elegant obstacle … The Australian Ballet usually performs at least two ballets per year in which you will see tutus, so it’s safe to say that I spend a lot of time wearing one. So much so that one of my half-tutus has a Vegemite stain on the tulle. Vegemite sandwiches are my favourite between-rehearsal snack. Don’t mistake this as a lack of reverence for the very icon of my livelihood … my goodness, I do love dancing in it.
(more…)

10 April 2014

  • The Temptress in Black
    Amber Scott in Stephen Baynes' Swan Lake. Photography Jeff Busby
  • The Temptress in Black
    Lucinda Dunn in Manon. Photography David Kelly

The Temptress in Black

A woman walks into a room or enters the stage. She’s wearing a striking black dress. Words aren’t needed. The black speaks for her, but it often comes with an additional warning:  Danger Ahead. We’re talking here of seduction and sophistication, but most of all temptation.

The Temptress, as an archetype, was defined by Carl Jung as a sensuous beauty, one who physically attracts the protagonist of the story and who ultimately brings about his downfall. (It’s usually a him rather than a her).

In Swan Lake, the conniving black swan Odile triggers the fall. Dressed in a black tutu embellished in gold or silver, she makes a stunning entrance into the palace ballroom, where her glittering eyes and scissor-sharp dancing bring down the poor, befuddled Prince Siegfried. (more…)


  • Artistic director turns interior decorator
    Photography Kate Longley
  • Artistic director turns interior decorator
    Photography Kate Longley
  • Artistic director turns interior decorator
    Photography Kate Longley

Artistic director turns interior decorator

Our Artistic Director David McAllister is the latest to rearrange the Johnston Collection, a delicious clutch of treasures in a Melbourne house – the legacy of antique dealer William Robert Johnston.

With his customary flair, David has assembled a striking array of objects, with each room themed around a different ballet (think Manon in the intimate supper room, Romeo & Juliet in the bedroom, and a joyful explosion of La fille mal gardée-style china figurines in the kitchen). The Johnston Collection’s own pieces are complemented by costumes from our productions in every room.

David’s rearrangement will be on display until Wednesday 25 June: book here to see it.

2 April 2014

  • A Chroma primer
    Sarah Lamb in The Royal Ballet's Chroma. Photography © ROH/Bill Cooper 2010
  • A Chroma primer
    Olivia Cowley and Johannes Stepanek in The Royal Ballet's Chroma. Photography © ROH/Bill Cooper 2010

A Chroma primer

The ladies of London-based blog The Ballet Bag give us six key facts about Wayne McGregor’s electrifying breakthrough work.

We like to think of Wayne McGregor’s modern classic Chroma as a music box. One of the coolest, most exciting music boxes ever created. An indie rock party in a “Zen” space, where the energetic sound of the White Stripes challenges yet perfectly blends with John Pawson’s Oriental-minimalist set, and where dancers create the décor with individual shapes and strange beauty. (more…)

27 March 2014