While many arts companies in Australia and around the world are yet to return to the stage, West Australian Ballet will continue to create its own path with beautiful classics, powerful contemporary works and showcasing homegrown talent as hallmarks of the Company’s Season 2021.
In his ninth year at the helm, Artistic Director Aurélien Scannella has said the spotlight would shine on the State Ballet Company’s now 38-strong company of professional dancers more than ever.
“2020 has challenged us on many levels, and so will 2021. But where there is a challenge, there is an opportunity,” said Scannella. “West Australian Ballet will continue to be the home of world-class dance in WA, the ballet will challenge and lead in 2021, and I hope you join us on this journey.”
Australia’s oldest ballet company will commence its 69th year with As One: Ballet at the Quarry, a triple bill of contemporary dance works as a part of Perth Festival.
The first work presented comes from well-known Australian Choreographer Natalie Weir as an ensemble of 20 West Australian Ballet dancers bring Weir’s stirring 4Seasons to life. Created as a reimagining of Vivaldi’s iconic Four Seasons with a striking re-composition by Max Richter, Weir’s work sees dancers experience four juxtaposing seasons. This work was first premiered by Expressions Dance Company and City Contemporary Dance Company (Hong Kong) in 2018.
After rocking the Quarry Amphitheatre stage in both 2019 and 2020 with striking pas de deux, Principal Dayana Hardy Acuña and Soloist Juan Carlos Osma will adapt a work created for the (digital) gala performance of the South African International Ballet Competition in 2020 into a longer piece for 11 dancers. Moment of Joy will be a poignant and impressive display, set to a live virtuosic piano performed by West Australian Ballet Head of Music Michael Brett.
The sell-out summer season will be completed with Heartache, a conceptual piece created collaboratively with a number of the Company’s versatile dancers. The group, led by Scannella and Principal Rehearsal Director and Artistic Associate Sandy Delasalle, will fuse powerful pas de deux and solos created by Delasalle, Polly Hilton, Jesse Homes, Matthew Lehmann, Claire Voss and Jack Whiter as the audience journeys through one man’s reflection on his life.
In March 2021, the dancers will take over their headquarters in Maylands as the Company’s annual creative showcase sees dancers choreograph works on one another in Genesis. A rich and emotional season, audiences have flocked to Genesis for the rare chance of being just metres from world-class creativity and performance.
The return to West Australian Ballet’s spiritual home at His Majesty’s Theatre will come with Scannella and Delasalle’s acclaimed version of classical cornerstone, Giselle. Set to Adolphe Adam’s score and performed live with West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Giselle is a timeless tale of love and vengeance as the beautiful peasant girl is deceived by a prince-in-disguise.
Contemporary dance takes its place with the long-awaited debut season STATE in the Heath Ledger Theatre at the State Theatre of WA following the cancellation in 2020. STATE will include a new creation from Helpmann Award nominee and highly regarded Javanese-Australian Choreographer Melanie Lane who will collaborate with musical artist CLARK on a new world premiere work.
Company dancer Adam Alzaim will bring his signature style to the stage as he creates GAINSBOURG, an original work that builds upon his sleek, humorous Genesis works from 2018 and 2019. Energetic and intricate movement will shine as Serge Gainsbourg’s sensual voice resonates through Northbridge.
Finally, after its cancellation in 2020, legendary Australian Choreographer Graeme Murphy’s Air and Other Invisible Forces will be performed, with a 45-minute excerpt of the award-winning work. A dramatic and powerful work driven by the intangibles and journeys into the unknown, West Australian Ballet is the only Company outside of Sydney Dance Company to have performed this work.
Whilst September in Australia is known for its AFL Finals, football will also feature on the His Majesty’s Theatre stage as Greg Horsman’s adaption of Coppélia charms the audience. With ballet’s great comedy (as said by George Balanchine), now set in South Australia’s Hahndorf, this adaption of the classical work features endearing characters inspired by late 19th century Australia. Performed alongside West Australian Symphony Orchestra to the music of Léo Delibes, Coppélia will enchant patrons of all ages.
A trademark of Scannella’s tenure as artistic director have been the festive season family ballets, and 2021 will not disappoint as Javier Torres’ The Sleeping Beauty will make its long-awaited Australian premiere at His Majesty’s Theatre. One of the most beloved Classical ballets of all time and set to Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece score, this fairy tale will bring colour and magic to Perth in November and December.
The State Ballet Company is also in the final planning stages to tour to Karratha, Port Hedland and Kalgoorlie-Boulder, and will continue the many Access and Outreach activities such as School Matineés, Adult Classes at the West Australian Ballet Centre, Community Dress Rehearsals and the popular Junior Members program.
For more information, visit waballet.com.au.