Queensland Ballet’s 2017 season will see the company break from tradition in more ways than one.
Venturing for the first time into collaborations with other art forms, the company kicks off their season with the maiden launch of ‘Bespoke’, a contemporary dance programme set against electronic media. “When Li Cunxin (Artistic Director) and I first started talking about ‘Bespoke’, one of the things that we wanted to do is really challenge both the dancers of the company and our audiences,” Ballet Mistress and Creative Associate, Amy Hollingsworth explains.
“Queensland Ballet has a very varied repertoire. We’ve got some beautiful full-length classics like ‘Swan Lake’, but we also wanted to represent the range that this company has, so we often talk about the contemporary programming that we’re going to place alongside those beautiful classics.
“Us doing more contemporary programmes is to make sure that Queensland Ballet (as well as really upholding our traditional roots so to speak) is evolving, making sure that we’re making relevant works for all our audiences who come and watch the performances we produce and staying current.
“One of the many driving forces of the new ‘Bespoke’ season is to be not only producing very high quality dance but to also be contributing to the landscape of dance by making new works that will be thoroughly Australian and thoroughly owned by this company.”
Delivering a multi-sensory experience of high-tech lighting design, cutting edge fashion, intense sound and dynamic movement, ‘Bespoke’ is a triple bill choreographed by Amy, the award-winning Stephanie Lake and Queensland Ballet Company Dancer, Jack Lister, which sees dancers team up with artists including ARIA award-winning songstress, Katie Noonan, and electronic-beats project, cln.
“We really want to show a significant contribution to new Australian dance work and this programme is just such an amazing platform for that, especially with the collaborative aspect. Katie and an incredible young producer, cln (Callan Alexander), have written a brand new, never heard before score for my work and they’re going to be performing live, so one of the pieces for the evening will literally be this feast of music and amazing dance with quite spectacular lighting.
“On Jack’s piece, he is collaborating with technology. There’s going to be projection and we’ve done a lot of green screen work so there’s going to be that amazing element as well. Steph also has a brand new electronic score, and she’s really pushed the dancers in a new way of moving, so I think the audience is going to get this really amazing journey.”
‘Bespoke’ represents another departure for Queensland Ballet, with the company performing for the first time at Brisbane Powerhouse, Queensland’s home for contemporary culture.
“We want to define how different this programme is from our usual offerings, so by placing the company in a really contemporary, edgy, cool venue with a completely edgy, cool, contemporary programme, we thought we’d be showing this complete other side of this beautiful ballet company.”
With ‘Bespoke’ selling out fast, Amy is confident in the future of the ‘Bespoke’ programme.
“To feel that the entire community is supporting us and wanting to come and see these new works makes us feel quite validated in the choices that we’re making. Each year the concept behind the collaboration will shift. It could be Queensland Ballet and a rock band, or it could be Queensland Ballet and a theatre company. We’re looking for all kinds of collaborations to initiate so that we get this amazing dialogue, and the audience can witness this incredible event where there’s artists from many different disciplines all working together.”
‘Bespoke’ plays at Brisbane Powerhouse from 10-12 February.