Dance diary. July 2011

During July I posted only two items to this site, other than this update on my activities. The month has in fact been very busy as I have been deep in research on the career of designer Kristian Fredrikson. While I thought I was aware of the extent of his theatrical activity, I have been totally amazed at just how prolific and diverse he was since he designed his first work, the operetta A Night in Venice, in Wellington in 1962. My list of his works, which eventually will form the backbone to my book, now numbers 128, although I am not yet through searching as well as checking and confirming dates and venues.

In addition, in July I had the privilege of recording an oral history interview for the National Library of Australia with Paul de Masson. Paul’s career as a dancer and ballet master, and now as a teacher in Melbourne, has also been extraordinarily diverse. He is a great raconteur and a great impersonator—wonderful oral history material emerged. I heard reports that he gave exceptional performances as Njegus in the Australian Ballet’s recent Melbourne season of The Merry Widow. Melbourne audiences will, I believe, also be able to see him as the Red King in the forthcoming British Liaisons program.

I also finally got to see Lucy Guerin Inc’s production of Untrained, which visited Canberra on the last stop of a long nation-wide tour. What an engaging insight into how the body reveals a personality.

Michelle Potter, 31 July 2011

3 thoughts on “Dance diary. July 2011

  1. Michelle’s news about a forthcoming book devoted to Kristian Fredrikson is very exciting. He was a designer who seemed to be able to exert a deep influence on the concept of the works he was involved with rather than just executing place/clothes according to someone else’s idea. It is fascinating to ponder the different approaches taken to the 3 Tchaikovsky ballets he did for The Australian Ballet. The 2 Murphy collaborations are much further along the radical rethink curve than the Welch one. I wonder just how did the various ideas evolve ? His productions did seem to embody the unity of all elements.

    And the word “exceptional” is certainly not too strong to describe Paul de Masson’s performances in the Melbourne “Widow” season. They were magnificent character performance alive to everything happening, second by second, on stage and projecting effortlessly over the footlights.

    And of course he has a very strong link to Fredrikson via the ill-starred “Hunchback” production. Both artists were at the top of their game but the choreographer certainly wasn’t. We were left with a magnificent physical production with a beating heart at it’s centre in Paul’s performance but chaos all around it. It’s great to be able to look forward to his Red King for the Melbourne “Checkmate” season.

  2. I would like to express how wonderful it has been to experience the performances of Paul de Masson again with The Australian Ballet. Works have been enlivened with his expertise both as a dancer and master of mime. I really hope that Colin Peasley and Paul de Masson are employed to pass on the heritage and knowledge of the many important characters in the repertoire of the Australian Ballet Company that they are masters of to the current dancers of today.

  3. Thanks to Adrian and Anne for their comments about Paul. Unfortunately it seems unlikely that he will be accompanying the company to Sydney for the Merry Widow season there.

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