I’ve been chatting with WA Ballet director Aurélien Scannella ahead of the launch of the company’s 2018 season. It’s so refreshing to hear that our world class local dance company has such a strong focus on creating original work and involving WA artists.
Ballet at the Quarry will open the 2018 season and three out of four of the productions are original creations, including works choreographed by dancers from within the company. The one that really grabbed my attention is the collaboration with Gary Lang NT Dance Company to produce Milngia, Milky Way – River of Stars. Dancers from both companies will work together to tell the Dreamtime story of the Milky Way, drawing on the life experiences of indigenous choreographer Gary Lang and featuring indigenous soprano Deborah Cheetham.
Scannella has wanted to work with Lang for years.
“He has such a compelling dance style and choreography that is gentle and soft, not angry,” Scannella said, “and his choreography is connected to the music.”
The collaboration is well underway, with members of the company visiting Lang and his community in the Northern Territory earlier this year.
The contemporary extravaganza that is Ballet at the Quarry will be followed by one of the world’s oldest surviving ballets,and a cornerstone of romantic ballet, La Sylphide. The ballet will feature fantastically colorful costumes from Lexi George and remain true to August Bournonville’s original 1836 version under the direction of Bournonville specialist Dinna Bjørn.
In June the company will again host Genesis, an experimental mini-season of short works designed to show the talent the West Australian Ballet dancers possess in both dance and choreography. This has been a popular initiative with its rare up-close and personal ballet experience.
One of the ballets that left a lingering impression on Scannella as a young dancer was Dracula and so he has programmed a new production of it for September. The neoclassical adaption of Bram Stoker’s novel will be choreographed by Krzysztov Pastor, regarded as one of the top five directors in Europe.
In November Scannella’s Nutcracker will return, the most successful production in WA Ballet’s history. The story of Clara’s enchanted Christmas journey (choreographed by Scannella, Jayne Smeulders, Sandy Delasalle ) sold out when it premiered in 2016
and will be a festive conclusion to the year.
The season includes supportive connections with the WA arts scene including a workshop sharing session with Black Swan Theatre to construct the original set for Dracula, and the skills of Jon Tooby who will be conducting La Sylphide.
Scannella says the season will be beautiful and honest.
“Season 2018 will be a raw and pure experience for the audiences that will emotionally have highs and lows. I’m excited for the audience to come on this artistic journey with the Company”.
I will leave you with the stunning marketing photos, taken in the Perth hills and unedited.
“The ballet dancer’s body is an artwork by itself,” Scanella explained. “We want to let the artform shine through.”
For more details on the 2018 program go to https://waballet.com.au