Queensland Ballet’s 2021 Season Launch was all about gratitude, with Artistic Director Li Cunxin AO expressing his thanks for the support received by the company during their turbulent year in 2020.
“From donors, to season ticket holders, everyone who has supported us has played their part. I wish to thank every person who held onto their ticket, every person who donated to our fundraising campaigns, and our own QB dancers and business team members who never lost hope,” said Mr Li.
“Who could have predicted the global events set to hit the arts sector that would force Queensland Ballet to move its entire season to the following year? It’s unprecedented and has never happened in Queensland Ballet’s 60-year history,” he said.
2020 was set to be a year of festivities for QB, celebrating its 60th Anniversary with a calendar full to the brim of exciting new works and returning favourites. But it was not until July that the Company dancers graced the stage for the first time, for Brisbane Powerhouse’s Light’s On series, made possible with the support of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.
“State Government support enabled us to get back onstage for Light’s on Powerhouse and then our HOTA season on the Gold Coast and our upcoming season of 60 dancers; 60 stories at QPAC. Knowing the challenges faced by performing arts venues, I would like to acknowledge the support of Brisbane Powerhouse, HOTA and QPAC as enabling partners,” Mr Li said.
“We feel incredibly humbled that our Company was one of the very few in Australia, let alone internationally, to be back onstage performing live,” said Mr Li.
Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said Queensland’s continued health response meant companies like Queensland Ballet could return ticketed and seated performances to 100% capacity.
“In what has been such a challenging year for Queensland artists, I’m so thrilled to congratulate Queensland Ballet on launching a 2021 season of unforgettable ballet productions that will help celebrate our State Ballet Company’s 60th anniversary,” Minister Enoch said.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s investment in the upcoming 60 Dancers: 60 Stories for QPAC’s Queensland’s Own program is supported through the $22.5 million Arts and Cultural Recovery Package and continues to support the creation and presentation of live performance.
“The Palaszczuk Government is proud to be such a significant supporter of Queensland Ballet and I look forward to the 2021 season as the company once again shares the joy of dance and the magic of live performance.”
Mr Li acknowledged how the turbulent year had also played havoc on the business community and thanked the Corporate Partners who had stuck by the company.
“Our Principal Partner Suncorp collaborated with us to once again to inspire our community to get creative and experience the joy of dance. In this year particularly, their support of #balletbeatdrop via Tiktok was well received by those needing a spark to get creative in lockdown with the hashtag #balletbeatdrop viewed over 160 million times around the world.
“Our Corporate Partners Shell QGC and Ergon Energy allowed our Community Engagement team to hit the road, despite the odds, to resurrect a regional community engagement tour in 19 Local Government Areas for 2900 participants, who enjoyed almost 130 workshops.
“Without this generous faith and support during 2020, our company would not be in the position we are in: looking forward to re-opening and re-building in 2021,” said Mr Li.
In 2021, Queensland Ballet is also excited to welcome new partners Cuisine on Cue, Hansen and Yuncken, Mercedes Benz, Crown Group and Oceania.
“While we are not out of the woods, we see the news of theatres returning to 100 per cent capacity as a sign that life is starting to return to normal in Queensland and we are thrilled to be a part of this renewal,” said Mr Li.
Mr Li said Queensland Ballet was working hard to ensure its vision for 2021 is undiluted by COVID-19.
“I am extremely proud of the company we have built-up, with 60 world-class dancers, a leading Academy faculty with tomorrow’s future dancers coming through, a far-reaching Community program, the redevelopment of our Thomas Dixon Centre, and a team of innovative business enablers supporting our ambitious endeavour”.
Every step is a story and in 2021 Queensland Ballet will be delighting audiences with its highly anticipated program.
The much anticipated 60th Anniversary Gala will open the Season in March with a journey back to the past to celebrate the ballets throughout Queensland Ballet’s history since its first performance by founder Charles Lisner’s Company.
“Our 60th Anniversary Gala is a celebration of where the Company has come from and where its bold ambitions are taking us,” said Mr Li.
“Our acclaimed dancers will be featuring excerpts from some of our most beloved ballets created during the tenures of previous Artistic Directors, as well as one of the most technically brilliant ballets ever choreographed – Etudes.
“The first classical story-ballet to be performed in 2021 will be The Sleeping Beauty. It was last performed in 2015, where it broke a 55-year box office record.
“Proudly presented by Sealy of Australia, Greg Horsman’s production of The Sleeping Beauty has become one of the most popular classical ballets in our repertoire so it was an easy decision to bring this back to the stage. You simply can’t beat this classic story combined with Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous score for a ballet that appeals to all ages.”
Tutus on Tour will see Queensland Ballet visit the regions mid-year to share ballet with rural and regional dance-lovers, and we hope to announce details soon as we confirm touring arrangements.
There will be a new interpretation of the children’s tale, Peter and the Wolf, also from Greg Horsman for the My First Ballet series.
“With some of Sergei Prokofiev’s most recognised music from his Symphonic Fairy Tale and the delightful character of Peter and his woodland friends Bird, Cat and Duck taking on the Wolf, we know this ballet will capture the imaginations of our youngest audiences.”
Our ever-popular Bespoke season of contemporary ballet returns in October with a program including respected Australian choreographers Natalie Weir, Jack Lister, Paul Boyd, Daniel Riley, Amy Hollingsworth and Rani Luther.
This is an opportunity to experience Queensland Ballet dancers in a different setting, stepping into the contemporary space whilst also collaborating with other artforms.
“In November we introduce a thrilling new work, certain to captivate audiences. Our new ballet for this season is a co-production with West Australian Ballet of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, proudly presented by Suncorp.
“Unlike anything we’ve ever done before, this gothic tale is reimagined by celebrated Polish choreographer Krzysztof Pastor who brings to our audiences a dark and sensuous love story like no other.”
From January, Queensland Ballet Academy’s full-time professional training program hosted at Kelvin Grove State College will span from Years 7 – 12, adding three more-year levels. The Academy will also launch its new after-school Foundation Program in Term 1, with the Pre-Professional Program continuing at Queensland Ballet’s West End studios.
Queensland Ballet Academy Gala will be presented in August. See the rising stars of dance in an exhilarating and professional production of classical and contemporary works. Academy dancers will then cap off the year with the inaugural end-of-year showcase, Summer Soirée, generously supported by Philip Bacon Galleries. For one night only, QPAC’s Lyric stage will feature all Australian visual art and Australian choreography by Natalie Weir, QB’s Resident Choreographer.
“And in December, Queensland Ballet will finish the year with our Christmas tradition of The Nutcracker which has made it into the festive hearts of audiences. 2020 taught us that there is a huge demand for this show and 2021 will be our ninth consecutive year of sharing it with our communities.”
“For QB, 2021 is very special. It’s a Season in which we hope to honour and acknowledge the many creative talents, both on and off the stage, who have made us what we are today, however it’s also a springboard into the future for us as a company,” said Mr Li.
Queensland Ballet Executive Director Dilshani Weerasinghe said with theatre capacities returning to normal, the Queensland Ballet team is excited about the opportunity to engage more with the community as we consider new and interesting ways to introduce more people to ballet and the arts.
“Later in 2021, we’ll open our Company home at the redeveloped Thomas Dixon Centre in Brisbane’s West End, a world-leading performing arts centre that will be transformational not only for us as a Company, but also the wider arts industry and community.
“Our home and your cultural hub, the new Thomas Dixon Centre represents an unwavering belief in the future of our art form, our community and our Company, and we can’t wait to re-open those doors.
“The Thomas Dixon Centre and Queensland Ballet teams are already collaborating within the arts sector and beyond, to consider meaningful, unexpected activations within our revitalised hub – for all to enjoy. Importantly, we are carefully considering our role and responsibility as a long-term resident in Montague Road, where so much creative and community vitality abounds. Bringing history, community and opportunity together makes magic and where there is magic, there is exciting momentum. Stay tuned!” said Ms Weerasinghe.
The public is invited to join Queensland Ballet on the journey.
“When we were in the depths of designing and dreaming, we really wanted to make sure our community would be able to call Thomas Dixon Centre home as well as our dancers and Queensland Ballet team, so it is so right that you too can be a part of its very foundations,” says Mr Li.
“You can dedicate a seat in the new Thomas Dixon Centre Studio Theatre or take your support into the private heart of our artists’ world, with a dancer’s dressing room station dedication. Something a little different and something that it truly about legacy and being a part of a dream come true. At first, nobody believed there was enough magic to make this dream of ours come true. And now look, thanks to the support of many visionaries, including the Ian Potter Foundation, Queensland and Federal Governments, we’ll be opening the doors in 2021! Be a part of it – a part our very fabric for decades to come!” Mr Li said.
“We are immensely proud to take forward the legacy of Charles Lisner OBE in developing and nurturing the artform of ballet and contributing to the arts and cultural landscape of Queensland and beyond.
“We are grateful that Season 2021 will be a season where we can share ballet again, where we come together to celebrate our 60-year milestone, where we stretch to enrich as many lives as possible and where we keep those big dreams alive.”
As 2020 draws to a close we say farewell to two beloved artists of the Company. Principal Artist Laura Hidalgo will retire from the stage following an international career that saw her grace Queensland’s stages when she joined QB in 2015. Laura has danced all the major roles in classical and contemporary repertoire to critical acclaim. She will be remembered most for the title roles of Mertuil in Dangerous Liaisons, which was created for her and The Firebird both choreographed by Liam Scarlett.
Company Artist Tonia Looker will also retire from the stage after her career in Royal New Zealand Ballet and QB. While we will miss her artistry onstage and team in the studio, Tonia will take up a new role in QB’s Foundation team, so she won’t be far from our hearts.
Joining QB in 2021 as First Company Artist is former Australian Ballet and National Ballet of Canada dancer Joe Chapman. Joe is a wonderful new addition to QB’s 2021 dancer line-up, and we look forward to his featured roles throughout the season.
QUEENSLAND BALLET 2021 SEASON
60th Anniversary Gala
5-20 March 2021 Playhouse, QPAC
Celebrate with Queensland Ballet as we present an exciting retrospective telling of our evolving story over 60 years. The 60th Anniversary Gala honours a vibrant history of dance that showcases exciting excerpts from five world-class productions. Watch as we come alive on stage, performed by our world-class dancers and glitter in the coming of age of this extraordinary company.
The production pays tribute to each of Queensland Ballet’s five Artistic Directors: Charles Lisner OBE, Harry Haythorne, Harold Collins MBE, François Klaus and Li Cunxin AO. Step into a wealth of dance production created and performed since 1960, including an excerpt from Chopin Pas de Deux as choreographed by founding Artistic Director Charles Lisner OBE; and a sassy, evocative piece from François Klaus’s Cloudland, that creatively revived the fading narrative of Queensland’s old dance hall with graceful ballroom dresses and heady jive. While Collins’ The Lady of Camellias tells of the unrequited love.
In 1983 with Jaqui Caroll as resident-choreographer for Queensland Ballet saw her translate Carl Orff’s’ cantata. Inspired by earthy and erotic medieval poetry, in Carmina Burana, the 60th Anniversary Gala will once again invite audiences to engage in the vitality of light, sound, colour and movement in the rowdy ‘Taberna’.
Demonstrating Queensland Ballet’s depth in this retrospective season includes the delicate and poignant finale from The Little Mermaid, as choreographed by François Klaus. The suite of works concludes with Harald Lander’s masterful homage to classical ballet, Études, showcasing an evolved and mature Company under current Artistic Director, Li Cunxin AO.
Choreographers: Charles Lisner OBE, Harry Haythorne MBE, Harold Collins MBE, Jacqui Carroll, François Klaus, Harald Lander
Music Performed by Camerata – Queensland’s Symphony Orchestra
The Sleeping Beauty
4-19 June 2021
Lyric Theatre, QPAC
Proudly presented by Sealy of Australia
Be drawn into the fairytale world of good versus evil as Queensland Ballet performs The Sleeping Beauty. Experience the power of a kiss under the spell of Tchaikovsky’s dramatic musical score, performed live by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
Greg Horsman’s compelling interpretation of The Sleeping Beauty delighted audiences and critics alike when first performed by Queensland Ballet in 2015. Back by popular demand, The Sleeping Beauty returns to the stage with all the enchantment of neoclassical theatre, captivating audiences with exquisite Renaissance-inspired costumes, spectacular choreography and elaborate stage sets.
Cursed by an evil fairy, Princess Aurora allows love to call her from slumber while the kingdom that has slept for 100 years dances itself, ever so delicately, back to life.
Be enchanted, lost and found, lulled and awakened, in a magical land of fairytale where evil tries but fails. Cats creep, fairies flit and beautiful bluebirds herald the triumph of good. As the Princess awakes, she touches the heart of every living creature.
Showcasing deeper narratives, Horsman’s two act retelling thrills audiences with dramatic solo and partnered performances.
Choreographer: Greg Horsman after Marius Petipa Composer: Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Nigel Gaynor
Costume and Set Designer: Gary Harris
Lighting Designer: Jon Buswell
Presented in association with Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Tutus on Tour
24 July – 25 August 2021
Regional Queensland Venues
Queensland Ballet dances across the State for a series of spectacular performances in Tutus on Tour. Bringing ballet to Regional Queensland, Tutus on Tour includes performances from past and present works, in celebration of Queensland Ballet’s 60th Anniversary.
The 2021 season will grace the stage with signature dances from the Company’s respected repertoire, including excerpts from traditional ballets and works by contemporary Australian choreographers.
This production honours the creative artists in Queensland Ballet’s rich history, including founding Artistic Director Charles Lisner OBE’s Grande Pas Classique. The spectacular program also includes François Klaus’ Cloudland Pas de Deux, Don Quixote Pas de Deux and Greg Horsman’s Never Stop Falling Down.
Tutus on Tour will leave you inspired with fond memories of Queensland Ballet’s stories and stir excitement for the future of this world-class company.
Choreographers: Charles Lisner OBE, François Klaus and Greg Horsman
Queensland Ballet Academy Gala
13-15 August 2021
Thomas Dixon Centre
See the rising stars of dance in an exhilarating and professional production of classical and contemporary works. Queensland Ballet Academy is proud to showcase the talented young dancers of its elite training programs in the annual Queensland Ballet Academy Gala.
Witness the future of the profession as our talented and professionally trained young dancers perform at Queensland Ballet’s new, purpose-built home of dance – the Thomas Dixon Centre.
The Academy’s world-class Faculty provides exceptional training and mentorship under the supervision of Artistic Director, Li Cunxin AO and Academy Director, Christian Tátchev. Graduates of Queensland Ballet Academy have segued with grace into professional careers with ballet and dance companies in Australia and internationally.
Experience this wealth of dance talent. Enjoy dancers at the beginning of their careers, performing traditional and new works by legendary and contemporary choreographers.
Peter and the Wolf
14-21 September 2021
Thomas Dixon Centre
Giggle and gasp as Queensland Ballet performs Peter and the Wolf. Children of all ages, parents and grandparents, can share a lesson in musical appreciation as orchestral instruments accompany the dancers in the reimagined telling of a favourite tale.
There will be squeals of delight as young dancers in colourful, creative costumes tell the tale of a courageous boy, a lovable grandpa, a rascally wolf, an unlucky duck and a graceful bird.
Queensland Ballet’s Greg Horsman gives the story a contemporary twist. Peter is a scout that goes on adventure with his grandfather to the zoo. Danced to an extended version of the original score by Sergei Prokofiev, each instrument represents a character. Peter is represented by the string family; the delicate bird follows the notes of the flute while the stealthy wolf is portrayed by the French horns. We all love old Grandpa as he moves steadily to the sound of the bassoon.
Composed as an introduction to the orchestra for children, this lively production fits perfectly with Queensland Ballet’s ‘My First Ballet series’, inspiring the littlest of ballet lovers.
Choreographer: Greg Horsman Composer: Sergei Prokofiev Music Arranger: Nigel Gaynor Costume Designer: Noelene Hill Set Designer: Joshua McIntosh
8-23 October 2021 Thomas Dixon Centre
Now in its fourth season, Bespoke is Queensland Ballet’s annual production tailored for lovers of contemporary dance. Be immersed in a dynamic and high-powered dance experience brought to the stage by established choreographers and upcoming dance creators.
A visual treat of contemporary dance that stretches the imagination and pushes the dancers to their boundaries, Bespoke 2021 introduces the audience to a new way of thinking about movement and storytelling in this innovative, edgy and captivating experience. Follow Queensland Ballet’s classically trained dancers as they explore new avenues of innovative and inspiring choreography.
Collaborating together with creative artists in elements of music, design and digital technology, Bespoke is daring and original. Enter a world of technical and artistic possibility. Be part of an audience compelled by the possibility and beauty of movement, where Queensland Ballet tells the story of dance in today’s world. Through the power and intrigue of contemporary dance, Queensland Ballets Bespoke season is a must see.
Choreographers: Natalie Weir, Jack Lister, Paul Boyd, Rani Luther and Daniel Riley
26 November – 4 December Lyric Theatre, QPAC
Proudly presented by Suncorp
It’s love at first bite. Dracula, the unearthly, seductive story inspired by Bram Stoker’s dark love story is presented by Queensland Ballet. Be taken on a journey across centuries into a dark world where true love never dies.
After two sell-out seasons in Western Australia, this neo-classical production will finally be unleashed on the Queensland stage. Audiences will be left captivated with provocative set and costume design in a modern interpretation of this blood thirsty love story.
Stoker’s gothic tale has become legendary, inspiring countless works of popular fiction, film, television and musical theatre. Unnerving and, at the same time, seducing for the modern psyche, Dracula follows the love-tortured vampire as he pursues Mina, who the Count believes to be the reincarnation of his dead wife.
Celebrated Artistic Director and Choreographer Krzystof Pastor has created his ballet to the atmospheric music of Wojciech Kilar, originally composed for the 1992 film starring Gary Oldman. Visually mesmerising, the production is accompanied by dramatic lighting by Jon Buswell and meticulous costume and set design by Phil R. Daniels and Charles Cusick Smith.
This spellbinding ballet will take you on a journey across centuries into a dark world where true love never dies. Dracula is a co-production between Queensland Ballet and West Australian Ballet.
Choreographer: Krzysztof Pastor Composer: Wojciech Kilar
Musical Arrangement: Michael Brett Conductor: Nigel Gaynor
Music Performed by Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra Costume & Set Designers Phil R. Daniels & Charles Cusick Smith Lighting Designer Jon Buswell
16-23 December 2021 Lyric Theatre, QPAC Ninth Year Running
Be captivated by an enchanting Christmas Eve story, featuring a dance by the Sugar Plum fairy and a Waltz of the Flowers in the Land of the Sweets. Share the festive tradition with family and friends as Queensland Ballet brings the lovable characters of The Nutcracker to life.
The story has all the delightful elements: a buoyant family party, a Christmas tree glittering with ornaments and a surprise magician with presents. As you enter the dream of a young girl be enchanted by a world of dance featuring mice, toys and lollies that create magic for every imagination.
This classical ballet was first performed in Russia in 1892 and has become a cherished Christmas tradition the world over. Queensland Ballet’s production was choreographed by Ben Stevenson OBE in 1976 and premiered for the Brisbane audience in 2013. Now in its eighth season be delighted by this Christmas tradition and get whisked away by The Nutcracker.
Choreographer: Ben Stevenson OBE Composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Conductor: Nigel Gaynor
Costume Designer: Desmond Heeley Associate Costume Designer: Noelene Hill Set Designer: Thomas Boyd
Lighting Designer: David Walters
Presented in association with Queensland Symphony Orchestra
SPECIAL BONUS EVENT
Queensland Ballet Academy Summer Soirée
9 December 2020
Lyric Theatre, QPAC
Queensland Ballet Academy in collaboration with Philip Bacon Galleries presents its inaugural Summer Soirée, a sophisticated evening of art, dance and inspiration. Join in the end-of-year celebrations at this black tie, red carpet event, featuring exquisite choreography by Natalie Weir.
Artistically stimulating and exclusively chic, this one-night-only, visual and performing art extravaganza showcases Australian art, Australian choreographers and Australia’s emerging dance talent. Bridging the boundaries between art and dance, Summer Soirée is a signature event for Queensland Ballet Academy. Audiences will be left wishing for more nights like this. Be part of the creativity, exploring innovative dance and fresh, conceptual choreography.
Revel in the talents of Queensland Ballet Academy’s exquisite young dancers in an exclusive evening as they perform Natalie Weir’s creative choreography. Weir is celebrated for her unique organic style and deep insight into the human condition. Emerging stars will generate excitement around Weir’s interpretation of art. Lovers of the performing and visual arts can glimpse into the future as Queensland Ballet Academy presents a not-to-be-missed feast for the senses.
Summer Soirée promises a night of glamour and art, as Queensland Ballet Academy once again breaks the boundaries of expectation to offer a classy, uniquely Australian event.