A magic carpet ride through 2015

I would, if I could, take a magic carpet ride to several continents and at least a dozen theatres to see the best of the best dance in 2015.

The last stop on the fantasy tour would be Tokyo in December 2015 when Sylvie Guillem completes an international tour of her last show, Life in Progress, before she retires at the age of 50.

Life in Progress premieres in Modena, Italy, in March then tours to Genova, London, Athens, Moscow and Paris before Tokyo and I hope Sydney or Melbourne will be added to the tour dates.

(January 8, 2015: Guillem has just posted on Facebook that “As soon as the date will be confirmed I will add dates ..;for the moment Europe is only France 8 shows in total, Italy (3 shows), England and Scotland, maybe Germany, Russia, then it will be Singapore, Taiwan, Shangaï, Beijing, Sydney, Japan for 16 shows”.

Guillem says she has “loved every moment of the last 39 years and today I am still loving it in the same way. So why stop? Very simply because I want to end while I am still happy doing what I do with pride and passion”.

Life in Progress includes two new works by Akram Khan and Russell Maliphant and a solo, Bye, choreographed for Guillem by Mats Ek.

A year travelling around Australia is not so far out of reach. An itinerary would start in February at the Perth International Arts Festival when 18 dancers of the Mark Morris Dance Group will perform Mozart Dances, accompanied by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra with pianists Colin Fowler and Amir Farid.

Next stop would be Sydney when in March, the Sydney Dance Company will stage William Forsythe’s Quintett (1993), danced to Gavin Bryars’s “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet”.

Also in March, the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet will perform at the Adelaide Festival of Arts in a triple bill of Jiri Kylian’s Indigo Rose, Crystal Pite’s Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue, and Hofesh Shechter’s Violet Kid.

In April, the Australian Ballet’s Ashton program will feature Symphonic Variations, marking the first time the company has danced the 1946 ballet he choreographed for six dancers of the Royal Ballet, with designs by Sophie Fedorovitch.

In June, Bangarra Dance Theatre begins a national tour of Lore, a double bill comprising She Oak, choreographed by Frances Rings and I.B.I.S choreographed by Deborah Brown and Waangenga Blanco.

Then it’s back to Adelaide when Australian Dance Theatre will mark its 50th anniversary with a gala performance in July chronicling the artistic eras of the company from 1965 to today.

I’m looking forward to the return to the Australian Ballet’s repertoire of Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room in August, a ballet first performed by the company during the artistic directorship of Ross Stretton.

Expressions Dance Company will premiere Natalie Weir’s Seven Deadly Sins in August so that’s going to mean another trip to Brisbane where the work will be staged at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

The big ballet premiere of the year will be David McAllister’s $1.5 million+plus production of The Sleeping Beauty, opening in Melbourne in September.

The following month, the Queensland Ballet will present Greg Horsman’s Sleeping Beauty with guest performances by Alina Cojocaru on 23, 24 and 27 October in Brisbane.

International highlights

My dream itinerary starts in February in Hong Kong when the Hong Kong Ballet will premiere Natalie Weir’s dance interpretation of Puccini’s opera, Turandot.

On to the United States where Alexei Ratmansky will continue his reinvention of 19th century classics when American Ballet Theatre premieres his production of The Sleeping Beauty in California and Washington DC in March.

The new Beauty is a highlight of ABT’s 75th anniversary year.

In April there’s more Ratmansky when the San Francisco Ballet dances his Shostakovich Trilogy in its entirety.

Across the Tasman, the Royal New Zealand Ballet will premiere Salute, a program or works marking the centenary of the Gallipolli landing in World War I.

The program in May includes works by Johan Kobborg (Salute) and Jiri Kylian (Soldiers’ Mass), and two world premieres by Neil Ieremia (Passchendaele) and a work as yet untitled by Andrew Simmons.

The New Zealand Army Band will perform live in all venues throughout a national tour.

For more Shostakovich, the National Ballet of Canada will dance Ratmansky’s Shostakovich Trilogy (Parts 1 and 3) in Toronto in a double bill in May.

The second work is a new ballet by Guillaume Cote titled Being and Nothingness, danced to the music of Philip Glass.

In London, Wayne McGregor’s Woolf Works will premiere in May at the Royal Opera House. His first full-length work for the Royal Ballet draws on the themes of Woolf’s stream of consciousness novel, Mrs Dalloway.

There’s no need to travel anywhere but the nearest cinema to see dance on film in 2015.

On January 17, Australian audiences can see Lloyd Newson’s DV8 Physical Theatre in the new work, John, filmed at the National Theatre in London and on January 23, the Royal Ballet’s Alice in Wonderland, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon.

On February 7 Yuri Grigorovich’s Nutcracker begins the Bolshoi Ballet’s 2015 film season with Swan Lake following on March 28.

In April the Paris Opera Ballet’s program marking the end of the artistic directorship of Brigitte Lefevre will be in cinemas under the title Celebrate Dance, comprising the company’s Defile, Etudes and Nureyev’s Nutcracker.

The Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake will be screened on May 8 followed by the company’s La Fille mal gardee on July 3.

The Paris Opera Ballet’s Manon will follow on July 24.

The cinema program for dance from August to December 2015 has not yet been announced.

Just for fun, here’s a list of dance anniversaries from 90 years ago to 10 years ago.

1925: Picasso’s painting, The Three Dancers

1935: Top Hat, starring Fred Astaire

1945: Cinderella, Bolshoi Ballet, choreographed by Zakharov

1955: The Dream Ballet in Oklahoma!

1965: Romeo & Juliet, choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan

1975: The Merry Widow, the Australian Ballet

1985: White Nights, the movie, starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines and Gene Kelly wins the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award (see video below)

1995: Ballet, a documentary by Frederick Wiseman on American Ballet Theatre

2005: Ballets Russes, a documentary directed by Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine.

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2015
Amber Scott, The Sleeping Beauty, Australian Ballet, photo © Justin Ridler

Amber Scott, The Sleeping Beauty, Australian Ballet, photo © Justin Ridler

In the Upper Room, Houston Ballet, photo © Amitava Sarkar

In the Upper Room, Houston Ballet, photo © Amitava Sarkar

Sylvie Guillem and artists of the Toyko Ballet, Bolero, photo © Kigonori Hasegawa

Sylvie Guillem and artists of the Toyko Ballet, Bolero, photo © Kigonori Hasegawa

Sylvie Guillem, photo © Anne Deniau

Sylvie Guillem, photo © Anne Deniau

Zhang Si Yuan as Turandot, Li Jia-bo as Calaf and The Hong Kong Ballet dancers in Turandot. Photo © Tim Rummelhoff.

Zhang Si Yuan as Turandot, Li Jia-bo as Calaf and The Hong Kong Ballet dancers in Turandot. Photo © Tim Rummelhoff.

Moira Shearer and Margot Fonteyn, Symphonic Variations, Royal Ballet, 1946

Moira Shearer and Margot Fonteyn, Symphonic Variations, Royal Ballet, 1946

Mozart Dances, Mark Morris Dance Group, photo © Stephanie Berger

Mozart Dances, Mark Morris Dance Group, photo © Stephanie Berger

Yuan Yuan Tan and Maria Kochetkova in Piano Concerto No.1 from Ratmansky's Shostakovich Trilogy, San Francisco Ballet, photo © Erik Tomasson

Yuan Yuan Tan and Maria Kochetkova in Piano Concerto No.1 from Ratmansky’s Shostakovich Trilogy, San Francisco Ballet, photo © Erik Tomasson

The Three Dancers, 1925, by Pablo Picasso

The Three Dancers, 1925, by Pablo Picasso