La Bayadère

AB_Georges AntoniAn epic story of forbidden passion, a beautiful temple dancer and a heroic warrior fight for their love against a backdrop inspired by 19th-century visions of the exotic East, this spectacular re-imagining of La Bayadère makes its Australian première at Arts Centre Melbourne in late August, before opening at the Sydney Opera House in November.

Joining the company onstage for La Bayadère will be some of the biggest international names in dance today. Two of Stuttgart Ballet’s most popular dancers, Elisa Badenes and Daniel Camargo, will guest star with The Australian Ballet during the Melbourne season. In a thrilling first, American Ballet Theatre prima ballerina, Gillian Murphy, will make her debut with The Australian Ballet during the Sydney season of La Bayadère.

The Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, David McAllister, said it was an un-missable opportunity to see three of ballet’s greats. “This is a rare opportunity to see one of American Ballet Theatre’s biggest stars on Australian soil plus two of the most dynamic and popular dancers we have ever hosted,” said McAllister.

“Elisa Badenes and Daniel Camargo blew audiences away when they performed with the company at our 50th Anniversary Gala and along with Gillian Murphy – one of the most acclaimed ballerinas in the world today – they are set to do the same in the exotic spectacular that is La Bayadère.”

Created in 2010 for the 40th anniversary of the Houston Ballet, Stanton Welch’s La Bayadère follows the epic tale of temple dancer Nikiya who falls in love with the warrior Solor. A kaleidoscope of beauty, colour and spell-binding movement, La Bayadère traces their fight for love, and the vengeance that keeps them apart.

Spiced with opulent sets and costumes by acclaimed English designer Peter Farmer, La Bayadère evokes a dramatic vision of the exotic East. The third act features one of the most infamous and beautiful scenes in ballet today – the Kingdom of the Shades. Showcasing 24 female dancers in white tutus, executing 38 synchronised and seamless arabesques while descending onto the stage, it demands absolute precision and control from the corps de ballet.

La Bayadère was originally conceived by Marius Petipa and premiered on February 4, 1877 at the Bolshoi Theatre in St Petersburg. Resident Choreographer of The Australian Ballet and Artistic Director of Houston Ballet, Welch brings a masterful dimension to this classic, crafting the story with unrivalled dance technique and Bollywood sass.

Choreographer: Stanton Welch  Music: Ludwig Minkus  Arranged by: John Lanchbery  Costume and Set Design: Peter Farmer  Lighting Design: Francis Croese

La Bayadère
State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 28 August – 6 September 2014
Bookings: 1300 369 741 or online at:

Joan Sutherland Theatre – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney
Season: 6 – 22 November 2014
Bookings: 1300 369 741 or online at:

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: photo by Georges Antoni