The Australian Ballet Releases Complete Schedule for Upcoming Season

The Australian Ballet announces an explosive new season, blending timeless classics and contemporary works, including the Australian premiere of the Nijinsky masterpiece, the return of much-loved classics Coppélia, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, and world premiere works by rising ballet stars.

Artistic Director David McAllister and Executive Director Libby Christie today unveiled The Australian Ballet's 2016 season. The year ahead blends treasured masterpieces, comic fairytales and legends of ballet history. The theme of the 2016 program is transformation with a season focused on fantasy, magic and make-believe, celebrating the ballet's ability to transform.

The Ballet's 2016 calendar begins in Brisbane when the Company brings back an encore season of Alexei Ratmansky's acclaimed Cinderella. The world's most in-demand classical choreographer has earned rave reviews for his witty, romantic treatment of the classic love story. Audiences can expect vivid, Surrealism-inspired designs in a fantasy land of 1940s glamour. Opening in February, Cinderella runs exclusively in Brisbane.

The 2016 triple contemporary bill, Vitesse, brings together three world famous contemporary choreographers at the top of their game: Christopher Wheeldon's work sees dancers hurtle at a head-spinning pace; Ji?í Kylián's evokes a haunting and harrowing seascape set to Benjamin Britten's dark Sinfonia da Requiem; William Forsythe promises a ballet that is chic, sleek and dangerous. This explosive new work is a visceral and wild ride of modern dance. Vitesse opens in Melbourne in March and Sydney in April.

The Australian Ballet turns back the clock to a traditional take on the world's most popular ballet. Swan Lake returns to its roots with an encore performance of the Stephen Baynes classic. From the first bars of Tchaikovsky's score, Swan Lake takes audiences to another world. Baynes' timeless ballet combines grand scale with unnerving psychological intimacy. Hugh Colman's designs pit Edwardian splendour against spectral beauty. One of the most ambitious works ever staged by the Company, it was created for The Australian Ballet's 50th anniversary in 2012. The work was commissioned in honour of the Company's first ballet ever performed in 1962. Swan Lake by Stephen Baynes opens its 2016 season in Sydney in April, then Adelaide in May and Melbourne in June.

Symphony in C is a parade of bite-size classical and contemporary ballet delights. The mixed bill begins with the black and white symmetry of a George Balanchine extravaganza. The gala line-up to follow is a suite of perfect ballet moments to show the art form at its radiant best. Highlights include the world premiere of two new works by emerging choreographers and rising stars of The Australian Ballet, Alice Topp and Richard House. This work is exclusive to Sydney and opens in April, as the classical counterpoint to Vitesse.

Romance moves centre stage, when Houston Ballet brings the world's most famous love story, Romeo and Juliet, to Melbourne. Artistic Director Stanton Welch, concurrently a Resident Choreographer with The Australian Ballet, is a master of story and spectacle. His La Bayadère won wide acclaim in Sydney and Melbourne in 2014, and now Australian audiences can, for the first time, enjoy his version of the star-crossed lovers' tale. This traditional production, set to Sergei Prokofiev's heart-rending music, unfolds in a richly ornate design inspired by Renaissance Italy. Welch's emotionally-charged and sensual choreography shows Houston Ballet at its finest. Romeo and Juliet opens in Melbourne in June.

Arguably the centrepiece of the 2016 program will be a moving tribute to a master. Nijinsky is a work inspired by the rise and fall of a ballet legend. A famed Ballets Russes star, Nijinsky changed dance forever. His explosive leap and shockingly sensual choreography brought critics to tears.

This Australian premiere takes audiences inside the mind of a tortured genius. Follow the artist's journey from ecstasy to anguish before his tragic end in an insane asylum. Choreographed by one of the world's most celebrated choreographers, John Neumeier, and created for his company, Hamburg Ballet, this ballet has been hailed as a masterpiece, encapsulating his lifetime passion for and exploration of the Vaslav Nijinsky story. This work recalls the artist's troubled family, his ill-starred romances and the transcendent performances that brought him fame. The story is told through the vivid memories unfolding in the dancer's mind during his last performance at a Swiss hotel. An extravagant masterpiece set against the backdrop of the celebrated Ballet Russes, expect lavish glamour and sensuality. Nijinsky opens in Melbourne in September, Adelaide in October and Sydney in November.

The Australian Ballet season would not be complete without a fairytale spectacle for the whole family. Coppélia brims with lively dancing and 19th-century charm. This is comedy, intrigue and fantasy made real as village boy Franz learns why you should never romance a living doll. Set to Delibés' lilting score, the ballet is infused by sorcery, magic and masquerade. The cast is exquisitely dressed by master designer Kristian Fredrikson. This ballet was lovingly revived by The Australian Ballet's founding Artistic Director Peggy van Praagh and Theatre Director George Ogilvie. The Australian Ballet is delighted to bring back this festive season favourite, which opens in Melbourne in September, and Sydney in December.

Artistic Director David McAllister said the program is one of the most ambitious yet; world-class in its quality and visionary in its aspiration. 'Ballet has the ability to transform. It creates a special place where time stands still. This year promises a kaleidoscope of magic and fantasy from the historic past to the present. The season ranges from milestone classics, including the genius of John Neumeier's Nijinsky, certainly one of the greatest choreographers of all time, to a triple bill of explosive, edgy and athletic movement, including two world premiere works by our own talented dancers. This is a richly dynamic and diverse season which I am proud to present,' McAllister said.

Libby Christie, Executive Director of The Australian Ballet, said, 'The Australian Ballet continues to expand its horizons in 2016. I am delighted to confirm also that on the back of tours to China and America in the past year, we have plans for further overseas travel in 2016. The Company's profile continues to rise both in Australia and on the international dance world stage.'

The Australian Ballet will also tour to major regional centres in Australia, and continue its rich program of audience engage-ment events. For full season details, visit 2016 Season Packages are available from 9am Thursday 24 September in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

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