English National Ballet: Australian tour announced

When the English National Ballet last toured Australia in 1999, the then artistic director, Derek Deane, brought an extravaganza – a Swan Lake in the round that played gigantic venues in four cities, among them Sydney’s Entertainment Centre.

If that was the Ben Hur of ballet tours, the ENB’s next tour is the bijou version.

The company will appear in Sydney alone next June at the relatively new venue, the Concourse in Chatswood, with a program of Lifar’s Suite en blanc, Balanchine’s Apollo, and three pas de deux, from Manon, Don Quixote and Hans van Manen’s Trois Gnossiennes.

They will give 14 performances from June 8 to 17.

Apollo and Suite en blanc are part of ENB’s Beyond Ballets Russes’ season that opens at the Coliseum in London next February.

It’s not yet known which of the ENB dancers will be travelling to Sydney but let’s hope the group will include the principal, Vadim Muntagirov, who danced the Mazurka variation in Suite en blanc in London last March.

The tour offers a perfect opportunity for the ABC or SBS to show BBC4’s three part series, Agony and Ecstasy, a revealing documentary on the ENB’s preparations for Swan Lake and Nutcracker, screened last March in the UK.

The company’s artistic director, Wayne Eagling, features in the documentary along with former artistic director, Derek Deane and – with fewer appearances – Maina Gielgud, the company’s guest teacher/repetiteur.

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Elena Glurdjidze in the Cigarette variation from Suite en Blanc

Elena Glurdjidze in Suite en blanc

Suite en blanc, photo © Patrick Baldwin

Trois Gnossiennes, English National Ballet, photo © Patrick Baldwin

Apollo, English National Ballet. Taken at a gala performance at Sadlers Wells in tribute to the careers of Thomas Edur and Agnes Oaks, photo © Patrick Baldwin.