The Australian Ballet helps Canberra celebrate its centenary

Symmetries: classical meets architectural

The Australian Ballet helps Canberra celebrate its centenary

Photography by Georges Antoni

Photography by Georges Antoni

The double bill Symmetries will be performed at the Canberra Theatre for four shows only from 23 May 2013.

Befitting such a momentous occasion is the creation of a brand-new ballet. Australian Dance Theatre’s Garry Stewart will create Monument       with 19 of the company’s dancers, in an ode to one of Australia’s most iconic and important buildings: Parliament House.

On the other side of the ballet coin is the pure classicism of Harald Lander’s Études. Performed recently by the company for its 50th Anniversary Gala in Melbourne, this work has not been seen in Canberra since 1986.

The Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, David McAllister, is delighted to be presenting a world premiere work for Canberra dance fans.

“This is the first time Garry has choreographed for us and it’s a great combination of an interesting subject matter, Garry’s distinctive       phrasings and our dancers’ interpretations come together in a work that will be uniquely Australian,” said McAllister.

“While Monument shows our innovative side, the other work we’re bringing is the gorgeous tutu-fest Études. It’s a brilliant party piece that features some stunning and challenging solos, so expect ballet fireworks!”

Monument has been especially co-commissioned by the Centenary of Canberra as part of its year-long celebrations.

The Creative Director of the Centenary of Canberra program, Robyn Archer, said she was thrilled that the nation’s flagship dance company would be able to pay tribute to this special milestone.

“This was the challenge I threw out to David and Garry – could there be a  new ballet to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Parliament House, and  could it be about the architecture of that iconic building?” said Archer.

“I’m so proud that they took up the challenge with such energy. The Australian Ballet is making a superb contribution to the Centenary of       Canberra.”

Garry Stewart is one of Australia’s most unconventional and successful choreographers. He has been at the helm of Australian Dance Theatre since 1999.

In 2012, he was awarded an Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography; he also has two Helpmann Awards       to his name.

As part of his research for Monument, Stewart spent time with  Aldo Giurgola, the chief architect of Parliament House, who was able to give him a personal tour and a detailed history of the building’s evolution. In bringing his vision to life, Stewart is joined by Canberra-born composer Hugh Benjamin and costume designer Mary Moore.

The Australian Ballet last performed in Canberra in March 2012, with a free performance in Commonwealth Park. This event was attended by 6,000 eager Canberra ballet lovers.

If you missed the company then, here’s your chance to see The Australian Ballet at its finest.


Monument (2013)
Choreography Garry Stewart
Music Huey Benjamin
Costume and set design Mary Moore
Creative collaborator Aldo Giurgola

Monument is a Centenary of Canberra project, proudly supported by the ACT Government and the Australian  Government.

Études (1948)
Choreography Harald Lander
Music Knudåge Riisager (after Carl Czerny)
Costume and lighting design  Lise Lander
Lighting reproduced by Francis Croese

23 – 25 May 2013 (4 performances)
Canberra Theatre Centre
Canberra Theatre
with Canberra Symphony Orchestra and electronic composition

(02) 6275 2700 & online

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