The Australian Ballet’s 2015 season

The centerpiece of the Australian Ballet’s 2015 season is a new Sleeping Beauty, directed by the artistic director, David McAllister and designed by Gabriela Tylesova.

It will premiere in Melbourne in September.

The company’s 2015 season opens with Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney and continues with Maina Gielgud’s Giselle in Melbourne, followed by Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide.

An Ashton program, comprising The Dream, Monotones II and Symphonic Variations will play in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide and Melbourne audiences will also have the chance to see Ratmansky’s Cinderella, a major success for the company when it premiered last year.

The AB’s contemporary dance program, titled 20:21 is a triple bill: Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room and a new work by the Australian Ballet’s resident choreographer, Tim Harbour.

The company will also tour to Shanghai and Beijing and continue its Bodytorque program with a series of pop-up performances after selected shows of The Dream and 20:21 in Melbourne and Sydney.

The 2015 repertoire is an intriguing amalgam of ballets, with two great classics, The Sleeping Beauty and Giselle, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, introduced to the Australian Ballet repertoire by Ross Stretton, and an Ashton evening of ballets that are seldom seen in Australia, Symphonic Variations, The Dream, and Monotones II.

Choreographed by Ashton in 1946, Symphonic Variations has never been performed by the Australian Ballet, but Australian audiences did see the ballet in 1957 when the West Australian Ballet performed the work in the Perth Festival and again when a small group of dancers from the Royal Ballet, led by Margot Fonteyn, brought the ballet on a tour of Australia in 1962.

Now that the Ashton Foundation has been established, it’s likely that Symphonic Variations will be staged by Wendy Ellis-Somes, the widow of Michael Somes.

Ashton, who died in 1988, had bequeathed the ballet to Michael Somes.

Monotones I and II (1965) entered the Australian Ballet repertoire in 1975 but neither has been performed by the company since 1981.

Ashton bequeathed both Monotones to the architect, Tony Dyson, now the chair of the Frederick Ashton Foundation.

The Dream, bequeathed to Sir Anthony Dowell, was first danced by the Australian Ballet in 1969.

The full-length Sleeping Beauty represents a milestone in the history of the Australian Ballet as the company first performed the ballet at the new Sydney Opera House in 1973 in a production staged by Robert Helpmann and Peggy van Praagh, with designs by Kenneth Rowell.

In 1984, early in her artistic directorship of the company, Maina Gielgud staged a new Sleeping Beauty, with designs by Hugh Colman.

The Australian Ballet presented its third Sleeping Beauty in 2005. Choreographed by Stanton Welch it was designed by Kristian Fredrikson.

A decade later, the fourth Sleeping Beauty will mark an important moment for both the company and for David McAllister, in what will be his 14th year as artistic director.

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Amber Scott, The Sleeping Beauty, photo © Justin Ridler

The Dream, Chengwu Guo and Madeleine Eastoe, photo © Georges Antoni