Artscape: The Australian Ballet at 50
Tuesday, 10pm, ABC1 As the Australian Ballet approaches the 50th anniversary of its first performance, Artscape looks back at its origins and goes behind the scenes during the company’s latest take on the classical ballet Swan Lake. After first performing Swan Lake at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Sydney in 1962, the Australian Ballet has performed four versions of the work in its 50-year history. The latest iteration is by the Australian Ballet’s resident choreographer Stephen Baynes. Produced for the ABC by John Paul Tansey, who was granted unfettered access to the company, this doco follows several young dancers including principal artist Amber Scott through the rehearsal period to opening night and looks at some of the challenges of staging a new ballet. You can see how qualities such as delicacy, decorum and poetry, along with physical virtuosity, are based on simple, if extraordinarily demanding, hard work. The documentary also looks at how life has changed for dancers during the past half century. There are stories from present artistic director David McAllister as well as a host of other ballet luminaries, including the great dancers Marilyn Jones, Garth Welch and Marilyn Rowe and choreographer Graeme Murphy.