2020 was set to be a year of festivities for QB, celebrating its 60th Anniversary with a calendar full to the brim of exciting new works and returning favourites. However, “Who could have predicted the global events set to hit the arts sector that would force Queensland Ballet to move its entire season to the following year?," asked artistic director Li Cunxin at the company's 2021 launch. "It’s unprecedented and has never happened in Queensland Ballet’s 60-year history."
As a result, the much anticipated 60th Anniversary Gala will open the season in March, with a journey back to the past to celebrate the ballets throughout Queensland Ballet’s history since its first performance by founder Charles Lisner’s company – "a celebration of where the company has come from and where its bold ambitions are taking us,” Li said.
Prepare to be wowed by Queensland Ballet’s current crop of dancers in excerpts from Etudes (Harald Lander), Carmina Burana (Jacqui Carroll), Cloudland and The Little Mermaid (Francois Klaus); The Lady of the Camellias (Harold Collins) and Chopin Pas de Deux as choreographed by founding artistic director Charles Lisner. March 5-20, QPAC, Brisbane.
Queensland is a big state and those living outside of Brisbane will be glad to hear that as part of its celebrations Queensland Ballet is touring across regional Queensland with excerpts from traditional classical ballets and works by contemporary Australian choreographers. July 24-August 25. Please check QB’s website for dates and venues.
Two of the most iconic and best loved ballets in history will be held at the Lyric Theatre. The first on the program is The Sleeping Beauty, choreographed after Petipa by the QB's Chief Ballet Master Greg Horsman with gorgeous costumes and sets designed by Gary Harris (June 4-19). In the final weeks leading up to Christmas, the company will perform Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker (December 16-23).
Before then, however, the company will perform “Bespoke”, featuring a new work each by Natalie Weir, Jack Lister, Paul Boyd, Rani Luther and Daniel Riley. See the dancers explore more contemporary movement and themes in their very own purpose built theatre at the Thomas Dixon Centre (October 8-23).
Also on the bill is Dracula, a co-production with West Australian Ballet. Choreographed by Krzysztof Pastor and set in the 1800s, the story follows Count Dracula’s fascination with his lawyer’s fiancée, Mina, after losing his beloved wife, Elizabeth. This darkly beautiful work features intricately detailed and sophisticated sets and costumes co-designed by Phil R. Daniels and Charles Cusick Smith (November 26 -December 4).
From January, Qld Ballet Academy’s full-time professional training program hosted at Kelvin Grove State College will span from Years 7-12, adding three more-year levels. The Academy will also launch its new after-school Foundation Program in Term 1, with the Pre-Professional Program continuing at Queensland Ballet’s West End studios.
The Queensland Ballet Academy Gala will be presented in August. Academy dancers will then cap off the year with the inaugural end-of-year showcase, Summer Soirée, generously supported by Philip Bacon Galleries. For one night only, QPAC’s Lyric stage will feature all Australian visual art and Australian choreography by Natalie Weir, QB’s Resident Choreographer.
At the launch, Li expressed his gratitude to all those who stood by the QB through the year.
“From donors, to season ticket holders, everyone who has supported us has played their part. I wish to thank every person who held onto their ticket, every person who donated to our fundraising campaigns, and our own QB dancers and business team members who never lost hope,” he said.
Look out for our comprehensive coverage of all next year's dance in the forthcoming print issue of 'Dance Australia'. Subscribe now and take advantage of our special Christmas offer!