Artists of the Australian Ballet in ‘Grand’, 2018. Photo: Jeff Busby

Murphy. The Australian Ballet

16 March 2018. State Theatre, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne This program was a retrospective of works by Graeme Murphy and was in celebration of his long association with the Australian Ballet. The evening began with a brief film clip of Murphy talking about those moments for a choreographer, and by extension for a dancer and for the audience, when a

English National Ballet in Akram Khan's Giselle (c) Laurent Liotardo

Giselle. English National Ballet

1 March 2018, Aotea Centre, Auckland Reviewed by Jennifer Shennan Aforethoughts and Afterthoughts. English National Ballet’s season of Giselle, in an acclaimed new production choreographed by Akram Khan, has just played at the Auckland Arts Festival. The setting has migrant workers stranded after a clothing factory closes down, and the clash between workers and factory bosses echoes the contrast of

Liz Lea in the 'showgirl' sequence from RED, 2018. Photo: Lorna Sim

RED. Liz Lea Productions

8 March 2018, QL2 Theatre, Gorman Arts Centre, Canberra What follows is a slightly expanded version of my review for The Canberra Times of Liz Lea’s RED. A link to the online version of The Canberra Times‘ review is at the end of this post. The print version will appear next week. The pre-show media for Liz Lea’s new work

Dance diary. Feburary 2018

Russell Kerr Lecture In February I had the pleasure, and honour of presenting the inaugural Russell Kerr Lecture in Ballet and the Related Arts in Wellington, New Zealand. I spoke about the life and career of Wellington-born designer Kristian Fredrikson, of whom New Zealanders are rightly proud (as indeed are we Australians). The lecture was made possible by a fund,

In a flash. Australian Dance Party

18 February 2018. National Portrait Gallery, Canberra Have you ever wondered what happens inside (and outside) a film studio? Well Australian Dance Party’s latest show, In a flash, gives a clue. Commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, In a flash was made in response to Starstruck, a Gallery exhibition of portraits of Australian film personalities. Party Leader Alison Plevey assembled four

Eileen Kramer in the film 'Eileen 2017'

Eileen (2017). A film by Sue Healey

A recent acquisition by the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra is a short 6 minute film featuring ex-Bodenwieser dancer Eileen Kramer, aged 103 when the film was shot. This is a truly haunting film by Sue Healey, working with cinematographer Judd Overton. Kramer dances, seated for the most part, to a gentle musical score composed by Darrin Verhagen and Justin

Postcard showing Italian ballerina Carlotta Zambelli

Dance diary. January 2018

RAD Conference 2018, Brisbane I was delighted to be asked to give the keynote address at the 2018 RAD Conference in Brisbane during January. I will not, for copyright reasons, be posting my paper and PowerPoint presentation for the moment. I would, however, like to mention the surprise discovery (a surprise to me anyway) I made while preparing the paper. While

Elma Kris and Beau Dean Riley Smith in 'Bennelong.' Bangarra Dance Theatre, 2017 © Vishal Pandey

Dance diary. December 2017

‘The best of…’ for 2017 At this time of the year ‘the best of…’ fills our newspapers and magazines. My top picks for what dance audiences were able to see in the ACT over the year were published in The Canberra Times on 27 December. A link is below in ‘Press for December 2017.’ Dance Australia will publish its annual

Clara's Christmas sunglasses

Merry and bright (and dancerly)

Some time ago now an Australian newspaper was sued over a review I wrote. Although ‘dancerly’ was not the major issue that generated the action, I remember a lawyer questioning my use of the word in the review (actually it was ‘non-dancerly’ that I used). To the lawyer, dancerly was not a real word. My Macquarie Dictionary (now rather old)

Toa Paranihi and Connore Masseurs in 'S.U.B.'. New Zealand School of Dance, 2017. Photo: © Stephen A'Court

Royal New Zealand Ballet at the crossroads?

The appointment of Patricia Barker as artistic director of Royal New Zealand Ballet has not been without controversy! Jennifer Shennan’s review of the 2017 50th anniversary show from New Zealand School of Dance with Royal New Zealand Ballet, in which she mentioned that no graduates from the School had been accepted into the New Zealand company, sparked a number of