In 2022, Australia’s oldest professional ballet company, West Australian Ballet, will celebrate its 70th anniversary with an ambitious program featuring a number of ground-breaking new works in a defining year for the Company.
The Company’s story began in 1952, as former Ballets Russes dancer Madame Kira Bousloff OAM settled in a town that she compared to the French Riviera. Originally hiring a boatshed, water seeped through the floors as dancers were auditioned for the fledgling Company.
Fast forward 70 years and West Australian Ballet’s ambition, versatility and strength traces back to those early moments in the Company’s life.
“As we celebrate our Company’s 70th year, reflecting on our diverse history brings me excitement for the future,” said Aurélien Scannella, Artistic Director.
“West Australian Ballet’s Season 2022 will include many extraordinary moments, creative new works and acclaimed choreographic talent. I know West Australian audiences will continue their passion for our enriching works.”
“As we close 2022, we will also have a truly special work of a uniquely West Australian story. All I can say is purchase your tickets now to be a part of history,” said Scannella.
In a year of dual anniversaries, Artistic Director Aurélien Scannella also celebrates the tenth year of his transformative tenure at the Company. Long known for his unwavering commitment, Scannella has premiered 12 new full-length Classical works alongside 37 Contemporary ballets.
Under his guidance, West Australian Ballet now sets international standards for diversity amongst its artists, leads in health and wellbeing of dancers and creates a myriad of new works, all while upholding the classics.
Scannella’s Season 2022 commences in its traditional way, with Platinum: Ballet at the Quarry set to shine under the moonlit sky of the Quarry Amphitheatre in City Beach. Featuring four exhilarating works, the moniker of ‘Platinum’ is an apt acknowledgement of the Company’s 70th anniversary for the February season.
Talented Brazilian-British choreographer Daniela Cardim will create a new World, having previously created works for the Dutch National Ballet, Royal Birmingham Ballet and many others.
Principal dancer Matthew Lehmann will also restage his beautiful duo Truth, which premiered at the Company’s creative showcase Genesis. Truth explores the meaning of honesty and its perception to a couple, set to the music of Ludovico Einaudi.
The summer season at the Quarry will also feature a collaborative work from West Australian Ballet’s Artistic Associate Sandy Delasalle and dancers Nikki Blain, Chihiro Nomura, Kiki Saito and Claire Voss. Concerto Impertinente! will see an adaptation of Delasalle’s creative concept, set to premiere on the mainstage.
Preparing to take to the open-air stage, will be the Australian Premiere of Polish choreographer Robert Bondara’s Take Me With You. A multi award-winning Choreographer, including of the “Le Prix de Biarritz award” in Emergent Choreographers Contest in 2018, Bondara’s work incorporates rhythmic body percussion and thrillingly unrestrained pointe work, all set to the sounds of the world renown, Radiohead.
Closely following the Quarry season, West Australian Ballet will mark its jubilee with a sparkling Gala Ball at Crown Towers Perth on Saturday 12 March 2022.
The Company’s creative favourite, Genesis, returns in March. Once again the dancers will take the opportunity to build their own works for the intimate season hosted at the West Australian Ballet Centre.
The fun of Season 2022 continues as Septime Webre’s award-winning ALICE (in wonderland) returns to His Majesty’s Theatre in May. Over 26,000 people took a journey down the rabbit hole in 2019, with the Company set to fly through Perth’s 118-year-old Edwardian theatre, performing circus-like feats amongst the mind-boggling sets and costumes.
West Australian Ballet will continue its long partnership with West Australian Symphony Orchestra, as they perform live under the baton of Conductor Jessica Gethin.
In June, the Company’s newest contemporary season STATE returns to the State Theatre Centre of WA. Following the critical acclaim of the 2021 season, STATE 2022 will feature in June with three scintillating works.
Ballet icon Nils Christe will bring his masterpiece Before Nightfall, to West Australian Ballet with the work set to be a mainstay within the Company’s rich repertoire. First created on Paris Opera Ballet, this intensely dark yet beautiful work about the feelings of dread and danger is highly anticipated.
Joining Nils at STATE is a name familiar to WA audiences; Craig Davidson returns to West Australian Ballet to create a new work after being commissioned by the Company in 2016 for his first ever piece, Ambiguous Content. Davidson has gone on to collaborate with several international ballet companies, and will bring a World Premiere work as the latest development in his choreographic journey.
Li Sze Yeung Justyne and Wong Tan Ki’s beautiful duet Galatea and Pygmalion will make its Australian Premiere as the final part of the triple-bill. Based on the Greek mythological tale of a sculptor bringing his statue to life, the spellbinding pas de deux first staged in Hong Kong, has a poignance and technicality that audiences will find endearing.
In September, His Majesty’s will see a golden work created by one of Australia’s great contemporary choreographers. Natalie Weir will premiere a work performed to J.S. Bach’s iconic Goldberg Variations. With Weir’s immense creative vision and fluidity in dance, the tones of connections and beauty of motion will take to the stage, over 280 years after Bach’s composition debuted.
To complete Season 2022, West Australian Ballet will present its biggest work yet. A work that has never been performed by this Company in a full-length staging of Swan Lake.
Krzysztof Pastor (Dracula, 2018) will return to Perth to create this ambitious work bringing Classical Ballet alongside the work of Balladong Wadjuk Noongar Man Barry McGuire and Gya Ngoop Keeninyarra (One Blood Dancers), who will feature in the work with Noongar dance adding to the well-known story.
Along with internationally renowned Set and Costume Designers Phil R. Daniels and Charles Cusick Smith, the traditional tale of this much-loved classical ballet will intertwine with the McGuire family totem, the Black Swan, the symbol of Western Australia. This collaborative and ground-breaking work will be an extraordinary closing to West Australian Ballet’s jubilee year.
With Season Packages now on sale and tickets available from Thursday 11 November 2021, be enriched by dance as West Australian Ballet embark on an immense 2022. For more information, visit: www.waballet.com.au for details.
Image: West Australian Ballet’s Oscar Valdes for Platinum: Ballet at the Quarry – photo by Finlay Mackay and Wunderman Thompson