Sydney International Ballet Gala

Sydney International Ballet Gala
Sydney Coliseum Theatre. West HQ. 16-17 July, 2022

Ballet dancers from around the world flew in to join highly credited local ballet stars and an enthusiastic troupe of young dancers, to bring this international ballet extravaganza to the wide stage of the Sydney Coliseum. After the devastating effects of the last two years on live performance, it’s wonderful to see this extraordinary theatre, opened in December 2019 only months before the pandemic struck, realising its promise of bringing international performances and, hopefully, large cast musicals to “the greater west”.

The program features principal dancers from America, the UK, New Zealand and Australia – and young dancers who are making their name across Australian companies.

Hosted by Belinda Russell, the two-hour program includes performances from Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty and the Flame of Paris, a ballet set on the eve of the French Revolution – and being performed just two days after Juillet Quatorze (July 14th) France’s National Day!

The program features principal dancers from The Royal Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the State Ballet of Georgia, The Australian Ballet, the Sydney Dance Company and over thirty-five young dancers.

As well as classical works, there are some exceptional contemporary works including the World Premieres of Forest of the Mind, choreographed by Australian-based Jake Burden. Commissioned by the Sydney International Gala, this extraordinarily beautiful work by Burden “pushes the boundaries of classical dance and brings an edge to the choreography”. Another World Premiere is We Are Still Friends, created and performed for the Sydney International Gala by Davide Di Giovanni.

Australian premieres included Ashes, choreographed by Jason Kittelberge (USA), L’Effleure, by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa (France), Berceuse by Penny Saunders (USA) and Balleverdi, choreographed by Australian based Wim Broeckx.

Among the performing artists were Natalia Osipova from The Royal Ballet, Misa Kuranaga and Julian Mackay from the San Francisco Ballet, Laurynas Vejalis and Mayu Tanigaito from the Royal New Zealand Ballet,  Laura Fernandez from the State Ballet of Georgia, Davide Di Giovanni from the Sydney Dance Company, Bryce Latham and Grace Carroll from The Australian Ballet, Victor Zarello, formerly of the Scottish Ballet and Sydney Dance Company and Jack Tuckerman, presently collaborating with Sydney Experimental Arts Ensemble.

This is a veritable ‘who’s who’ of the ballet world and an extraordinary chance for Sydney audiences to see world professional dancers in excerpts from works that are famous and very demanding. For the aspiring young dancers in the audience, it is perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see pieces from so many ballets performed by such highly-trained and experienced dancers. From brilliantly executed classical pas de deux and a graceful, lone Dying Swan, to beautifully choreographed contemporary performances, this is a showcase of the world of ballet – one that it is hoped will become an annual event.

Carol Wimmer

Images: Nicholas MacKay 

@niczeusmackay and 

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