By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.
What’s the best thing about autumn? The pretty coloured leaves falling, or the fact that we get to wear legwarmers again? You decide, dancers! In the meantime, here’s our Top Four picks for things to do and see in Melbourne this season.
1. Witness the wonder of Shen Yun
Shen Yun celebrates 5,000 years of Chinese civilisation through classical Chinese dance and music. Moving through various regions, dynasties and legends, this much-loved company incorporates ethnic and folk dances to fill the stage with colour and energy. Expect breath-taking athleticism, thunderous battle drums, incredible vocalists and animated backdrops.
Direct from New York, Shen Yun is the first company to present classical Chinese dance to the world on a large scale. It is a grand production with some 400 costumes and the only orchestra in the world featuring both classical Western and Chinese instruments. Performances take place at Arts Centre Melbourne from March 27 to 30. Bookings can be made by calling 1300 182 183 or at www.shenyunperformingarts.org.
2. Get down with Monski Mouse
Here’s one for all the little ones! The famous Melbourne International Comedy Festival kicks off this month with Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dance Hall. DJ Monski Mouse brings her high-energy smash-hit parents’ and children’s dance event for under-fives to Melbourne for the first time. Heads and shoulders, knees and toes will be bopping to retro dance tracks, pop favorites and funky nursery rhymes.
This event was sold out for the Adelaide Fringe, London Wonderground and Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Dress to impress disco style! – That means you too, Mum and Dad!
3. Experience a day in the life of The Australian Ballet
Ever wondered what company life is really like? This is your chance to see behind the scenes of The Australian Ballet! Company dancers will demonstrate their daily training in class on the State Theatre stage. There’ll also be a Q&A with leading dancers and a fully staged performance with live music from Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon. This informative and entertaining program is a treat for newcomers to ballet and regular ballet attendees alike.
Introduction to the Ballet takes place on Thursday, March 20 from noon to 1:30 p.m., and is suitable for age 10 to adult. Tickets are $30 and can be booked at www.australianballet.com or by calling 1300 369 741.
4. Try a new dance class
There are endless styles of dance to try in this great city of ours, and you don’t need to have any experience to share in the love of dance. Federation Square offers completely free lunchtime “taster” classes in everything from bellydance to Zumba. You could try Capoeira for free too at the Multicultural Hub, located at 506 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. Capoeira Angola runs classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights and is offering the first four classes free to beginners. Bookings are available by calling 0413 917 103 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If none of that takes your fancy, get Googling for a dance style you’d like to try. From swing to tango to Beyonce classes, pretty much everything you can imagine is out there!
For state-by-state dance events across Australia visit www.danceinforma.com.au/dance-events
Photo courtesy of The Australian Ballet. Tickets to Introduction to the Ballet can be booked at Australianballet.com.