Qld Ballet's 2022 season announced!

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Li Cunxin with principal artist Yanela Pinera. Photo: David Kelly
Li Cunxin with principal artist Yanela Pinera. Photo: David Kelly

Ten years ago, Li Cunxin took up his role as Artistic Director of the Queensland Ballet with big dreams to see the company thrive. The appointment of “Mao’s Last Dancer” was a coup for Queensland and galvanised the entire Australian dance scene.

A decade on, QB has experienced extraordinary growth, with 60 dancers, a world-standard repertory, and an internationally renowned ballet academy, with homes at the Thomas Dixon Centre, the Academy and a newly acquired site slated for a Production Centre in Yatala.

Launching the company’s 2022 season, Li’s commitment is as enthusiastic as ever. “My life changed the day I walked into QB as its 5th Artistic Director,” he says. “This journey has enriched my life and offered so much fulfilment and joy, as well as the inevitable challenges that have taught me so much. 

 “In Season 2022, we celebrate QB’s ambitions and bold vision for the future, which is why at the end of these incredible 10 years, it has not been a difficult decision to renew my directorship of this beautiful company.”

The season, launched last week, ranges from sumptuous classical favourites to the bold and new.

The year will open with The Sleeping Beauty (Feb 25 & 26), performed under the stars at the Gold Coast’s Home of the Arts (HOTA), the result of a new partnership with the outdoor venue. This will be followed by Giselle, which will first tour the regions from March 3 to 16 before a season at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (April 14-23).

Next up is a program entitled “Li’s Choice” – a triple bill of the war-themed work We Who Are Left, by Natalie Weir, Glass Concerto, by Greg Horsman, and the ragtime ballet Elite Syncopations, by Sir Kenneth MacMillan.

In June/July the company will finally be able to stage its Peter and Wolf, a new children’s ballet which has been frustratingly on hold while the pandemic wreaked its havoc. This will be followed by "Bespoke", the annual program of innovative modern ballet, this year featuring works by Horsman, Petro Treklis and Stephanie Lake. The program will be held from July 20-30 at the newly opened theatre at the company’s home at the Thomas Dixon Centre.

The QB is one of few companies in the world with permission to perform MacMillan’s epic Manon, and the company will bring the three-act tragedy to the QPAC stage from Sep 28-Oct 8. Adding to the occasion, Li and his wife Mary (former ballerina now company Ballet Mistress) will guest star in character roles: Li as the shady Monsieur GM (his debut in the role!).

At the end of the year the QB will return to HOTA with a double bill of Rooster, by UK choreographer Christopher Bruce,  and B-Sides, by local choreographer Jack Lister – a program that is  “full of humour, energetic choreography and a 60s theme”.

For a view of the next generation of dancers on the rise, the Qld Ballet Academy Gala is also included in the annual season, with a season at the Thomas Dixon Centre (August 12-14).

For more information, go here.

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