Happy New Year

Dance diary. December 2016

Happy New Year May 2017 be a very happy and productive new year for all. My thanks to all those who have logged on to my site during 2016, and special thanks to those who have made comments throughout the year, or made contact in other ways. My Canberra dance picks for 2016 have already been published by The Canberra

The Golds in a scene from 'Great Sport!'

Dance picks 2016

Recently, arts writers and critics for The Canberra Times were asked to choose their top five shows for 2016 for publication immediately before and after Christmas. We wrote and filed our stories in mid-December and, for various reasons I chose only four productions. But mid-December was before the names of successful applicants for artsACT project funding were made public. The announcement

Ruth Osborne, 2016. Photo: © Lorna Sim

Ruth Osborne. Artistic director QL2 Dance

Ruth Osborne has been setting up and facilitating dance projects for the young people of Canberra since 1999. It was then that she was invited to come to Canberra from Perth to set up the Quantum Leap Youth Program for the Australian Choreographic Centre at Gorman House. Osborne had had an extraordinarily diverse dance career in Perth, involving teaching, directing

Scene from 'Epic Theatre' Photo Pedro Greig

‘New Breed’ (2016). Sydney Dance Company

9 December 2016, Carriageworks, Eveleigh (Sydney) The most ‘left-of-centre’ work on this year’s New Breed program was the final offering, Shian Law’s Epic Theatre. His premise, which he enunciated at the end of his work, was that theatre is basically one set of people looking at another set of people. And so he played with who was audience and who was

Dancers of the Australian Ballet in 'Coppélia', 2016. Photo: Daniel Boud

‘Coppélia’. The Australian Ballet (2016)

10 December 2016 (matinee), Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House On 10 December 2016, I saw the 258th performance by the Australian Ballet of Peggy van Praagh’s production of Coppélia. A few aspects of the van Praagh production seem to have changed over the years since it received its premiere in 1979, perhaps not always for the best, but it remains

Emma Grill and Cooper Terry in 'Like a Salmon in the Sahara', PPY2016

‘PPY16 revealed’. Sydney Dance Company

8 December 2016, Carriageworks, Eveleigh (Sydney) Sydney Dance Company’s initiative, its now annual Pre-Professional Year (the title of the show PPY16 Revealed refers to this year’s venture), is a significant one for the future of the dance industry. And one of the most interesting aspects of the venture for audiences can be found in the comments on the course made

Valentina Blinova and Leon Woizikowsky in 'Le beau Danube', 1936 (detail)

Valentina Blinova. An unexpected find

Some charming writing about Valentina Blinova, during her engagement with the Monte Carlo Russian Ballet for the company’s Australasian tour of 1936–1937, unexpectedly came to light while I was researching a totally different topic. I came across two typewritten pages, which may have been misfiled by J. C. Williamson Theatres Ltd. as I found them alongside material relating to the promotion

Liz Lea in a study for a forthcoming show, 'RED'. Photo: © Nino Tamburri

Dance diary. November 2016

Canberra Critics’ Circle Awards: Dance 2016 The Canberra Critics’ Circle, a group of Canberra-based, practising critics from across art forms, presented its annual awards in November. Two awards were given in the dance area. Liz Lea: For her innovative promotion of dance in the ACT exemplified by her co-ordination and presentation of “Great Sport!” at the National Museum of Australia, which

‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Royal New Zealand Ballet

27 November 2016, St.James Theatre, Wellington Reviewed by Jennifer Shennan Truly, madly, deeply … If I were to list all the good things about this pedigree production, it would amount to a catalogue of joy. And what would be wrong with that? Ethan Stiefel, previous artistic director of RNZB, certainly knew what he was about when he invited Liam Scarlett

Yanela Pinera and Alexander Idaszak as the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Prince in 'The Nutcracker', Queensland Ballet, 2016. Photo: © David James McCarthy

‘The Nutcracker’. Queensland Ballet

23 November 2016, Canberra Theatre Below is an expanded version of my Canberra Times review of Queensland Ballet’s Nutcracker. Across the world The Nutcracker is the quintessential Christmas experience. Children grow up knowing the story of Clara, and the Nutcracker Prince who takes her on a journey through a snowy forest to the Kingdom of Sweets. Those children (and their