The Australian Ballet bring Cinderella and Swan Lake to the London Coliseum

25/01/2016

Presented by Askonas Holt and Raymond Gubbay Ltd and under the artistic helm of David McAllister, The Australian Ballet,Asia Pacific’s pre-eminent ballet company, makes a welcome return to the UK to perform Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake and Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella at the London Coliseum in July 2016.

Last seen in the UK in 2008, and following triumphant sell-out performances around the world, The Australian Ballet brings two of its most-loved full productions to the Coliseum’s West End stage in what promises to be a spectacular two-week season of ballet for the entire family.  

David McAllister, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, said:As a dancer I still remember my first time performing in London. It’s a city that has seen all of the best ballet companies from across the globe. Our ties go back generations and bringing the Company back to the birthplace of our founding Artistic Director, Peggy Van Praagh, is always a thrill.

Both productions have become signature works for the company. Both encompass our motto of caring for tradition but also daring to be different. In each work the dancers have not only embraced the choreographic challenges, but through many seasons have developed multi layered characters which drive the storytelling in both ballets.”

Kicking off the London visit from 13 – 16 July, and breathing new life into the timeless romance of Odette and Prince Siegfried, Graeme Murphy’s critically-acclaimed Swan Lake sees the traditional tale of the world’s greatest ballet unfolding with a contemporary twist.

Murphy’s Swan Lake, produced to mark the company’s 40th anniversary in 2002, follows the fortunes of Odette who is betrothed to Prince Siegfried, but she is deeply apprehensive about his relationship with Baroness von Rothbart. It’s not until after the wedding that the true nature of Siegfried and the Baroness’ relationship becomes clear, causing Odette such distress that by royal command she is committed to a sanatorium. There she finds comfort and escape amongst serene white swans in a frozen dream world.

Critics worldwide have picked up on more than a hint of another world-famous royal triangle, finding several parallels in this Swan Lake adaptation of love and betrayal. 

Kristian Fredrikson’s inspired set and costume designs frame Murphy’s choreography danced to Tchaikovsky’s immortal score. The Australian Ballet won the UK’s Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Best Foreign Dance Company following its Swan Lake performances in the UK in 2005; it is a much-lauded production not to be missed.

With an ever-developing repertoire, The Australian Ballet is recognised as a major creative force, producing remarkable new versions of the classics and inviting the finest contemporary choreographers to produce exciting new works. Alexei Ratmansky is one of the world’s most sought-after dance makers and his production of Cinderella for The Australian Ballet will bring the Coliseum stage to life from 20 – 23 July.

This London season marks the first time The Australian Ballet has performed the acclaimed choreographer’s Cinderella in Europe. Commissioned by McAllister in 2013, Ratmansky created the new Cinderella for The Australian Ballet and its world premiere season sold out across the continent. This Cinderella is brilliantly re-imagined, with Ratmansky unleashing his considerable narrative talents on a sublime story to Prokofiev’s divinely romantic score, taking audiences on a journey to 20th-century Russia and into an abandoned theatre where this unconventional fairy-tale unfolds.

Cinderella works away while her tempestuous Stepmother and Stepsisters prepare for the Royal Ball. As she dreams of dancing with the Prince, an eccentrically disguised Fairy Godmother transforms Cinderella’s rags into a magnificent ball gown – forget the pumpkin and the mice; planets, moons and stars accompany this Cinderella to the Ball.

Captivated from the moment Cinderella enters the room, the Prince only has eyes for his mysterious muse. A tick of the clock and one lost slipper later, the handsome Prince must embark on a world-wide journey to find his lost love, visiting many lands teeming with temptations before he is reunited with her.

This beautifully entertaining story for all ages has been captivating critics and astounding audiences at home in Australia and during its first international viewing in China in 2015.

On working with the dancers of The Australian Ballet to create Cinderella, Ratmansky said:There is definitely something Australian about the way they dance. Really strong. The dancers are alive. At the same time they’re precise, well placed, musical. There’s something sunny about them.

Ratmansky teamed up with award-winning French designer Jérôme Kaplan to realise his spectacular vision for Cinderella. The duo has previously worked together on Dutch National Ballet’s Don Quixote and the world premiere of Lost Illusions at Bolshoi; the latter won Kaplan a Golden Mask Award for Best Costume Design.

The Orchestra of English National Opera will accompany The Australian Ballet during its performances of Swan Lake and Cinderella at London Coliseum in 2016.