When Am­ber Met Alice

Am­ber Scott falls down the rab­bit hole this month in The Aus­tralian Bal­let’s pro­duc­tion of “Alice’s Ad­ven­tures in Wonderland ”. © By Jenny Burns

Where Melbourne - - Contents -

THE AUS­TRALIAN BAL­LET’S Prin­ci­pal Artist, Am­ber Scott, has danced all around the world but it’s Melbourne she hap­pily calls home.

Lis­ten­ing to her talk of the joys of work­ing and study­ing around the Arts Cen­tre Melbourne precinct and of ex­pe­ri­ences such as lunch in one of the city’s laneways and of swim­ming in Port Phillip Bay, it’s clear this is un­likely to change.

“Melbourne is the best place to be,” she ex­plains.

“It’s an easy, walk­a­ble and friendly city even on rainy days. And there’s so much to do in the city.”

The Arts Cen­tre Melbourne re­mains one of her favourite places.

“I fell in love with the Arts Cen­tre Melbourne from a young age and still love see­ing the lights of Melbourne sparkle on the Yarra River at night,” Scott says.

“The State Theatre is a fan­tas­tic place to per­form due to its size. Its large depth and width of­fers great free­dom with chore­og­ra­phy. Back­stage it also has great fa­cil­i­ties.”

Scott’s love af­fair with the theatre con­tin­ues this month as she takes to the stage in The Aus­tralian Bal­let’s pro­duc­tion of Christo­pher Wheel­don’s “Alice’s Ad­ven­tures in Wonderland ”. She is one of eight ‘Alice’s’ to

© per­form in the bal­let renowned for its chore­og­ra­phy, a wildly imag­i­na­tive set and in­ven­tive cos­tumes.

The bal­let was cre­ated by Wheel­don for The Royal Bal­let in 2011. He has reimag­ined the beloved sto­ry­book clas­sic us­ing bal­let’s tra­di­tional struc­tures, in­ter­spersed with dra­matic twists and comedic turns for a mod­ern edge.

The mag­i­cal world of Wonderland and its ab­surd and fan­tas­ti­cal in­hab­i­tants are brought to life through pup­petry, op­ti­cal il­lu­sion, im­mer­sive digital pro­jec­tions, count­less wigs, masks and in­tri­cately de­tailed and vi­brant cos­tumes.

Alice’s jour­ney is quite a roller­coaster ride. She shrinks, grows, nearly drowns, is threat­ened with cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment and res­cues a baby from the cook­ing pot.

High­lights of the de­sign in­clude an eerily dis­em­bod­ied grin­ning Cheshire Cat pup­pet ma­nip­u­lated by six dancers and a sen­su­ous in­digo Cater­pil­lar with eight pairs of be­jew­elled pointe shoe-clad feet.

“It is a won­der­ful role, Alice is a great char­ac­ter,” Scott ex­plains.

As a re­sult of the dif­fi­cult clas­si­cal chore­og­ra­phy, Alice’s in­ter­ac­tions with the set and the pup­petry and the time on stage (Alice is on stage for the full bal­let) it’s also a very de­mand­ing role.

But de­mand­ing roles are noth­ing new to Scott, who joined The Aus­tralian Bal­let School aged 11. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing as dux, she joined The Aus­tralian Bal­let in 2001. In 2003 she spent four months on a dancer ex­change at the Royal Dan­ish Bal­let. Scott was pro­moted to prin­ci­pal artist with the Aus­tralian Bal­let in 2011 af­ter per­form­ing the Sec­ond Move­ment from Sir Ken­neth Macmil­lan’s “Con­certo”. Other ca­reer high­lights in­clude work­ing with Wayne Mcgre­gor on “Dyad 1929” and “Chroma”, and danc­ing with Robert Tewsley dur­ing the 2008 “Manon” sea­son, Damian Smith in Christo­pher Wheel­don’s “Af­ter the Rain” pas de deux in 2012 and David Hall­berg in Alexei Rat­man­sky’s “Cin­derella” in 2013.

Her guest ap­pear­ances have in­cluded Odette/odile in Derek Deane’s “Swan Lake” with the Shang­hai Bal­let, the Na­tional Bal­let of China In­ter­na­tional Gala, Odette/odile in Rus­sell Kerr’s “Swan Lake” with Royal New Zealand Bal­let 2013, Fall for Dance Fes­ti­val, New York City (Glen Tet­ley’s “Gem­ini”) 2011 and The Stuttgart Bal­let’s 50th An­niver­sary Gala (“Molto Vi­vace” pas de deux).

“It’s been won­der­ful to travel the world per­form­ing both with The Aus­tralian Bal­let and other com­pa­nies,” she says.

But lis­ten­ing to Scott there’s no doubt bring­ing Alice to life for Melbourne au­di­ences is an equally re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence!

“Alice’s Ad­ven­tures in Wonderland ” is on at Arts Cen­tre Melbourne’s State Theatre from 12 to 30 Septem­ber. For more in­for­ma­tion and tick­ets phone 1300 369 741 or visit aus­tralian­bal­let.com.au

Main im­age: Am­ber Scott, “Alice’s Ad­ven­tures in Wonderland ”. Photo: Justin Ri­dler. ©

Arts Cen­tre Melbourne. Photo: Roberto Seba/visit Vic­to­ria. Am­ber Scott, “Alice’s Ad­ven­tures in Wonderland ”. Photo: Justin Ri­dler. ©

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