The best of 2021

I did not have the opportunity to see live dance outside Australia in 2021 although I came very close to getting to New Zealand to see Loughlan Prior’s Firebird for Royal New Zealand Ballet (everything was booked but had to be cancelled at the last minute)! But I did see a variety of performances from overseas companies in online screenings,

New Zealand Dance Highlights 2021

by Jennifer Shennan The year everywhere saw curtailment of a number of dance events but the resilience in dancers’ responses still gave us plenty of highlights to savour … Ballet Collective Aotearoa launched its long-awaited premiere season, Subtle Dances, in the Auckland and Dunedin Arts Festivals early in the year. Artistic direction of BCA by Turid Revfeim, to establish a

The Dancer. A biography for Philippa Cullen

Evelyn Juers, The Dancer. A biography for Philippa Cullen. (Sydney: Giramondo Publishing, 2021) ISBN: 9781925818727; 592 pp RRP $39.95 This book by Evelyn Juers is spectacularly different from any biography I have read before, especially from any dance biography I have yet encountered. It is in essence the story of Philippa Ann Cullen (born Melbourne, Australia 1950; died Kodaikanal, India,

Frances Rings. A new direction

The recent news from Bangarra Dance Theatre that Frances Rings will take on the artistic directorship of Bangarra from 2023, when Stephen Page retires from the role, has been received with positive comments across the dance community. The exceptional commitment that has characterised Page’s term as director has, rightly, also been spoken of in positive terms, but the appointment of

Jareen Wee in The Point

Dance diary. November 2021

Canberra Critics’ Circle. Awards for 2021 The 2021 Canberra Critics’ Circle awards ceremony took place on 30 November at the Canberra Museum and Gallery. The awards were presented to recipients by Patrick McIntyre, newly appointed CEO of the National Film and Sound Archive and, as is the custom, were presented across all major art forms including performing, visual and literary

New Zealand School of Dance. Graduation 2021

22 November 2021. Te Whaea, Wellington reviewed by Jennifer Shennan The Graduation season of NZSD is always a spirited one and, despite numerous disruptions to the year, this 2021 program of nine short works is an outstanding testament to resilience and determination, qualities that dancers are noted for. Such things can be infectious, all to the good since the world

Built for Ballet. Leanne Benjamin with Sarah Crompton

Last time I wrote a book review for this site I was puzzled by the difference between a memoir and an autobiography. Well there is no struggle this time. Leanne Benjamin’s Built for Ballet is clearly an autobiography of a woman who has had an absolutely stellar career as a dancer across continents. It focuses not on one aspect of

Annie Greig (1953–2021)

Annie Greig, who has died just a few days short of her 68th birthday, was born and grew up in Launceston and took her first dance lessons there from Nelly Dova. But, as a young teenager, Greig gave up those ballet classes when her interest in school sports and physical education activities began to occupy her time. When she handed

Dance diary. October 2021

The Australian Ballet in 2022 The Australian Ballet is returning in 2022 with a program that perhaps more than anything reflects the strong international background of artistic director David Hallberg. One work, John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, is well-known already to Australian ballet audiences but the rest of the offerings are not quite so well-known. Anna Karenina is familiar to

On View: Panoramic Suite. Sue Healey

Sue Healey has been working on her On View series for several years now. I recall with much pleasure seeing (live—it was pre-Covid!) her very arresting program On View. Live Portraits in 2015, and I also recall, again with pleasure, a number of the portraits of Australian dance ‘icons’ she has made over the years. But Healey has worked on