The American premieres of Anna Karenina and Sylvia that are coming soon to Australia

Time was when a ballet’s company’s repertoire was kept under wraps for months before the big launch.

Now, with co-productions more popular than ever, we can see in advance the look and style of the ballets we will see later in the year, the next year and even in two years.

The Joffrey Ballet’s Anna Karenina, choreographed by Yuri Possokhov, premiered in Chicago this month and next year will be staged by the Australian Ballet.

There’s an interesting link to the Joffrey and Australian Ballet as Ashley Wheater, the Joffrey’s artistic director, says his fascination with Anna Karenina began many years ago when he was a dancer with the Australian Ballet.

His time there was brief – 1982 to 1985 – but was long enough for him to dance in the Australian Ballet’s production of Anna Karenina, choreographed by André Prokovsky.

That production had been on the cards for some time and finally premiered in late 1979.

Books based on classic books were popular at the time with the Australian Ballet following Anna Karenina with The Three Musketeers and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Another co-production, Sylvia, choreographed by Stanton Welch, the artistic director of Houston Ballet, premieres in Houston this month and in Melbourne at the end of August.

Described as a romantic comedy with three strong female characters, Sylvia’s designs by Jérôme Kaplan include a grotto with creamy, stone-like walls, abstract tree forms and four sets of rolling stairs enhanced by projections.

A fourth co-production is Harlequinade, choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky in 2018 for American Ballet Theatre.

The Australian Ballet’s premiere of the ballet has not yet been announced.

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Jerome Kaplan’s set design for Sylvia

Jerome Kaplan’s set design for Sylvia

Victoria Jaiani and Fabrice Calmels, Anna Karenina, Joffrey Ballet, photo © Cheryl Mann

Victoria Jaiani, Alberto Velazquez, Fabrice Calmels, Anna Karenina, Joffrey Ballet, photo © Cheryl Mann

Alberto Velazquez and Victoria Jaiani, Anna Karenina, Joffrey Ballet, photo © Cheryl Mann

Harlequinade, American Ballet Theatre, photo © Marty Sohl

Artists of Houston Ballet in Sylvia, photo © Amitava Sarkar

Artists of Houston Ballet in Stanton Welch’s Sylvia, photo © Amitava Sarkar