A newsy dance week: Australian Dance Awards; ABT casting announced; Sydney Dance Company changes; Australian Ballet’s US tour

The last five days have yielded more than the usual number of dance news stories in Australia.

The shortlisted nominees for 10 categories in the 2014 Australian Dance Awards were announced on 12 August.

The companies with the most nominations were the Australian Ballet (five nominations) Chunky Move (three), and Bangarra Dance Theatre and Sydney Dance Company with two nominations each.

The 2014 Australian Dance Awards will be presented at the Sydney Opera House on Sunday 9 November.

The shortlisted nominees (in alphabetical order):

SERVICES TO DANCE

Catherine Baldwin [CEO & Consultant] Jeff Busby [Photographer] Nicolette Fraillon [Music Director & Chief Conductor, The Australian Ballet] Annie Greig [Artistic Director, Tasdance].

SERVICES TO DANCE EDUCATION

Janet Karin OAM [kinetic educator, The Australian Ballet School; President, IADMS] Tanya Pearson OAM [founder, Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy] Katrina Rank [dance researcher, education specialist and community dance leader] Diana Reyes [Spanish dance teacher and educator].

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN YOUTH OR COMMUNITY DANCE

Buzz Dance Theatre for Look the Other Way, QL2 Dance for Hit the Floor Together, STEPS Youth Dance Company & STRUT Dance for Trois Generations, Tracks Dance Company for Zombies in the Banyan Tree.

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN CHOREOGRAPHY

Rafael Bonachela for Emergence [Sydney Dance Company], Stephanie Lake for Aorta [Chunky Move], Leigh Warren for Not According to Plan [Leigh Warren Dance], Natalie Weir for When Time Stops [Expressions Dance Company].

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A COMPANY

The Australian Ballet, for Cinderella, Chunky Move for Aorta, Dancenorth & Opera Queensland for Abandon, Sydney Dance Company for De Novo.

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN INDEPENDENT DANCE

Nat Cursio for Blizzard, Larissa McGowan for Skeleton, Dalisa Pigram for Gudirr Gudirr, Aimee Smith for Wintering.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEMALE DANCER

Deborah Brown for Brolga [Bangarra Dance Theatre], Kate Denborough for Flesh & Bone [KAGE], Leanne Stojmenov for Cinderella [The Australian Ballet], Rachael Walsh for Giselle [Queensland Ballet].

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A MALE DANCER

Waangenga Blanco for Blak [Bangarra Dance Theatre], Daniel Gaudiello for Cinderella [The Australian Ballet], James Pham for Aorta [Chunky Move], Jack Ziesing for When Time Stops [Expressions Dance Company.

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN COMMERCIAL DANCE OR MUSICAL THEATRE

David Atkins Enterprises for Hot Shoe Shuffle Timothy Brown for Salon Rohan Browne for Singin’ in the Rain Red Hot Rhythm for Rhythm Junkies

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE ON FILM/NEW MEDIA

The Australian Ballet for Behind Ballet Rochelle Carmichael for Plucked, Sue Healey for On View and Karen Pearlman & Richard James Allen for ‘…the dancer from the dance’ [Physical TV Company].

Last Friday, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre released the casting for American Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake season, in Brisbane, opening on 28 August.

The casting shows that nine of the 16 ABT principals will be dancing in Swan Lake.

The opening night cast: Hee Seo and David Hallberg

UPDATE: 20 August: Due to injury Hallberg will not be coming to Australia. Stearns will replace him on 28 August, opening night

29 August, Veronika Part and Cory Stearns

30 August, Isabella Boylton and Danil Simkin (1.30) and Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside (7.30)

2 September, Isabella Boylton and Danil Simkin

3 September, Misty Copeland and Alexandre Hammoudi, (1.30) and Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside (7.30)

4 September, Paloma Herrera and Cory Stearns

I think the plan was for Gillian Murphy to dance on opening night but I’m more than happy that Hee Seo will be dancing with Hallberg that night.

Seo has steadily climbed up the ranks of American Ballet Theatre since she joined the second company, now called ABT II, in 2004.

Born in South Korea, she trained at the Sun-hwa Arts Middle School and, when she was 13, won a scholarship to train at the Universal Ballet Academy in Washington, DC. Her teacher was the Russian ballerina, Alla Sizova.

Seo won the Prix de Lausanne in 2003 and took up her scholarship at the John Cranko Ballet Academy in Stuttgart.

John Meehan, then the director of the ABT Studio Company, (now ABT II) offered her a contract.

Scroll down to see a clip of her dancing as a guest with the Mariinsky in Giselle.

Sydney Dance Company has announced two important changes.

Amy Hollingsworth, the company’s rehearsal director and right hand woman to artistic director, Rafael Bonachela, is stepping down from her full time role, although she will continue to work with the company on a freelance basis. The new rehearsal director is the dancer and choreographer, Lucas Jervies.

Andrew Crawford, who joined the Sydney Dance Company in 2011, is also leaving the company. He’s played an important role in the company over the past few years and his loss is significant.

Crawford began his training in Sydney and has danced in companies in England and Monte Carlo as well as in New York where he was a member of Christopher Wheeldon’s former company, Morphoses.

Long time SDC dancer, Chen Wen, is taking a three-month sabbatical.

He and Crawford will be replaced by Paul Knobloch and Petros Taklis.

The Australian Ballet has announced its tour to the United States in October with Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake in Los Angeles, Berkeley and San Francisco and its participation in the annual Fall For Dance program as City Centre, New York.

In New York, AB dancers Daniel Gaudiello, Ty King-Wall and Robyn Hendricks will feature in Tim Harbour’s new work, Ostinato.

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Andrew Crawford and Natalie Allen, 2 One Another, Sydney Dance Company, photo © Ken Butti

Andrew Crawford and Natalie Allen, 2 One Another, Sydney Dance Company, photo © Ken Butti

Adam Bull and Amber Scott, Graeme Murphy's Swan Lake, Australian Ballet, photo © Jim McFarlane

Adam Bull and Amber Scott, Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake, Australian Ballet, photo © Jim McFarlane

Hee Seo and David Hallberg in A Month in the Country, photo © Marty Sohl

Hee Seo and David Hallberg in A Month in the Country, photo © Marty Sohl