Chroma – The Australian Ballet

Chroma_photo by Paul ScalaWhat do The White Stripes, Mozart and Tchaikovsky have in common? The answer: Chromaa diverse and electrifying triple bill where classical and contemporary converge.

From England, The Netherlands and Australia, the award-winning dance masters Wayne McGregor, Jiri Kylian and Stephen Baynes will deliver a varied and sophisticated program that fuses the modern with the traditional.

Taking inspiration from the minimalist set design by architect John Pawson and a cinematic score from Joby Talbot that includes his arrangement of music from The White Stripes, Wayne McGregor’s Chroma will thrill audiences as The Australian Ballet performs the internationally acclaimed work for the first time.

Created in 2006 for The Royal Ballet, the same year McGregor was appointed the company’s resident choreographer, Chroma landed McGregor a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Dance Production, as well as the prestigious Critics Circle Award.

Fascinated by the notion of how particular skin tones create tension when set next to one another, McGregor complements the all-white set and colourful score with flesh-coloured costumes, made to match each dancer’s skin colour. A contemporary ballet with classical bones, Chroma stretches familiar steps to their extremes in a powerful work that is anything but bland.

Sharing the bill is Petite Mort and Sechs Tänze, two contemporary ballets from Jiri Kylian – a dance legend described by The New York Times as “one of the most influential choreographers of the last thirty years”.

A former artistic director of the renowned Dutch company Nederlands Dans Theater, Kylian is famed for works that are choreographically adventurous, visually striking and rich in emotion –ranging from the deeply moving to the delightfully humorous.

Made to commemorate the second centenary of Mozart’s death, Petite Mort (Little Death – a French euphemism for orgasm), is a sensual and evocative ballet featuring six women, six from fencing foils to Baroque ball gowns that glide across the stage with the dancers.

Created for the Salzburg Festival in Austria in 1991, Petite Mort is set to two of Mozart’s most beautiful and popular piano concertos, Numbers 21 & 23, which serve as a counterpoint to the onstage jousting and coupling. The light-hearted, playful Sechs Tänze is the humorous counterpart to Petite Mort.

Channelling Mozart’s style, the work features men with powdered wigs and beauty spots, and is set to the composer’s Sechs Deutsche Tänze (Six German Dances). Using the props from Petite Mort to create unusual tableaux that drift across the back of the stage, and featuring slyly comic choreography, Sechs Tänze has the dancers flopping on the floor, contorting their bodies and making use of flexed feet in a language that both uses and subverts classical ballet.

Completing the triple bill is a new work from Resident Choreographer Stephen Baynes, his first since his sell-out production of Swan Lake. Regarded as the “poet of The Australian Ballet”, Baynes takes inspiration from one of Tchaikovsky’s lesser-known scores, Mozartiana. Written as a loving tribute to Tchaikovsky’s idol Mozart for the centenary of his opera Don Giovanni, this new work will be the perfect counterpart to Kylian’s creations.

Baynes has been The Australian Ballet’s resident choreographer since 1995; his first commissioned work for the company toured nationally and internationally, and received a nomination for Best Dance Production at the 1993 Laurence Olivier Awards in London. In more recent times, he has created works for New York City Ballet, Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet and Sydney Dance Company, to name a few.

Chroma – The Australian Ballet
State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 6 – 14 June 2014
Bookings: 1300 369 741 or online at:

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Natasha Kusen and Andrew Killian – photo by Paul Scala