If you visit Australian Ballet's site with its casting for Coppélia and scroll down – after company members Chengwu Guo, Brett Chenowyth, Ty King-Wall, Christopher Rodgers-Wilson, Joseph Chapman – you will come across the name of David Hallberg, which is sure to make many ballet fans very happy indeed. He will be dancing Franz – a role debut – with Amber Scott as Swanilda and Andrew Killian as Coppélius, on 13, 16, 19 and 21 December.
After being out of action for a long two and a half years (extremely long for a ballet dancer in his early thirties) he is finally testing out the ankle that has given him so many problems. He has chosen the cosier environment of the Australian Ballet instead of the harsher spotlights of his two companies, the American Ballet Theatre in New York and the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow.
Hallberg had surgery on his ankle in August 2014 and freed-up his calendar for the rest of the year to recuperate. Unfortunately, this wasn't enough, and soon he had to start pulling out of his engagements in 2015 too. His only appearance was in November last year when he appeared in Francesco Vezzoli's Fortunata Desperata as part of New York's Performa festival. The piece however explored Baroque court dancing so no dazzling classical technique was required.
Worryingly, he largely disappeared from social media, then in July of this year he posted a photo with the caption “Emerging from the shadows”, and finally, it seems that he has.
Break a leg, David… but please, please be careful with that ankle!
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.