Artscape: The Aus­tralian Bal­let at 50

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

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.

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