Queensland Ballet and West Australian Ballet: 2012

The Queensland Ballet is entering a land of dreams next year with a new production based on the fairy tales of the Danish storyteller, Hans Christian Andersen.

And there will be more dream ballets with the return of the fantasy that takes place down the rabbit hole and the delusional reveries of a Spanish knight.

The new Andersen ballet, as well as Alice in Wonderland and Don Quixote are choreographed by Francois Klaus, whose artistic directorship of the Queensland Ballet will end in December 2013.

The premiere – Fairy Tales: Stories of Hans Christian Andersen – will include aspects of The Red Shoes, The Princess and the Pea, The Little Match Girl, The Snow Queen and The Ugly Duckling, as well as the life of Andersen himself.

Fairy Tales opens at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in December.

Of course this isn’t the first time Andersen’s stories have been translated into dance. Choreographic interpretations include Les Cents Baisers, The Little Mermaid, Wild Swans, The Snow Queen, and The Most Incredible Thing.

As well, Andersen’s work inspired A Dream – and a Fairy Tale, a ballet created by the Danish dancer, Helene Kirsova.

Klaus’s Don Quixote departs from the usual narrative. In his ballet, a dancer portraying the knight in a film feels such an affinity with the character that he dreams he has become the Don.

Other highlights of the Queensland Ballet season include A Classical Celebration, a two night only season which features excerpts from The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, the annual International Gala, and a regional tour of Queensland with Cloudland, another Klaus work, set in the Brisbane ballroom of the 1940s to 1980s.

Next year, the West Australian Ballet will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a highlight, titled Diamonds, coming in May.

Diamonds comprises two ballets by John Cranko, Jeu de Cartes and Poème de l’extase (created for Margot Fonteyn), along with PrĂ©lude Ă  l’après-midi d’un faune, choreographed by former WAB artistic director Barry Moreland, and Fokine’s The Dying Swan, restaged by Margaret Illmann.

(Incidentally, Alexei Ratmansky’s version of Jeu de Cartes, danced to Stravinsky’s score and first performed by the Bolshoi Ballet in 2005, is about to have its American premiere. (See the Pennsylvania Ballet in rehearsal in the video below).

Pinocchio, a new ballet by WAB’s artistic director, Ivan Cavallari, collaborating with Edoardo Sanchi (designer) and Enrico Melozzi (composer), will follow in September.

In the traditional WAB Quarry season in February and March, the company will dance Balanchine’s Serenade, the premiere of Cavallari’s Strings 32, set to music by Paganini and Kreisler, another premiere, by the Australian-born Terence Kohler, now resident choreographer at the State Theatre in Munich, set to Carl Vine’s Percussion Symphony No 5, and The Sixth Borough, choreographed by Reed Luplau.

Cavallari’s production of The Nutcracker will end the year.

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Blair Wood, Alice in Wonderland, choreography Francois Klaus, Queensland Ballet, photo © David Kelly

Meng Ningning in Fairy Tales, Queensland Ballet photo © David Kelly

Rachael Walsh in Cloudland, Queensland Ballet, Photo © Ken Sparrow

Carlos Lopez in Cranko’s Jeu de Cartes, American Ballet Theatre, photo © Gene Schiavone

Herman Cornejo, seated, and Irina Dvorovenko in Cranko’s Jeu de Cartes, American Ballet Theatre, photo © Nan Melville

Poème de l’extase, choreograhy, John Cranko, Dancers: Sue Jin Kang, Evan McKie, Marijn Rademaker

Pinocchio, West Australian Ballet, choreography, Ivan Cavallari

Jayne Smeulders and David Mack in The Sixth Borough, photo © Jon Green