The Australian Ballet presents Kunstkamer, one of the most ambitious contemporary dance productions to appear in the company's repertoire. It will be streamed live from the Arts Centre in Melbourne and will be available to audiences throughout the world on 10 June 2022. The company's Artistic Director, David Hallberg, will make a return to the stage for the performance.
Kunstkamer was created for the Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) in celebration of its 60th anniversary in 2019, and until now it has not been performed by any other company. The piece was conceived by some of the most in-demand choreographers working in ballet today, former NDT Resident Choreographers Sol León and Paul Lightfoot, and NDT Associate Choreographers Marco Goecke and Crystal Pite.
Kunstkamer translates from Dutch as ‘chamber of art' or ‘art cabinet' and draws inspiration from The Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, the 1734 book in four volumes by Dutch pharmacist, zoologist and collector Albertus Seba. A cabinet of curiosities brings together fascinating objects from around the world, displaying seemingly disparate items in ways that give them new meaning.
The result is a two-act contemporary ballet comprising of many short movements and woven elegantly together with key dance motifs and recurring characters. The cleverly arranged sequence of pieces wittily interrogates the possibilities of dance, from the most poetic pas de deux to the mesmerising and intricately choreographed group scenes involving the entire company of 80 dancers.
Kunstkamer‘s music is as varied as the dance with music by Beethoven, Janis Joplin, Schubert, Arvo Pärt, Joby Talbot and Ólafur Arnalds, among others. A set design by Sol Leon and Paul Lightfoot places the action within a vast space enclosed by grand neoclassical-style facades, with dancers entering and exiting through many doors on two levels. Elements of song, film, and spoken word add further texture to the world of curiosities created in the mysterious room.
Hallberg says, “I chose to bring Kunstkamer because it showcases the rich diversity of the dancers of The Australian Ballet. It will show audiences what else is possible in dance, seen through the most modern and compelling form of expression and I am thrilled to usher in a new style of dance with everyone on stage, in the theatre, and to audiences all over the world through our live-stream. It is a work not to be missed.”
TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE: www.australianballet.com.au/the-ballets/live-on-ballet-tv
Kunstkamer streams live from Arts Centre Melbourne
at 7:15pm (AEST) or 10:15am (BST – UK), 11:15am (CEST – Rome), 5:15am (EDT – New York)
on Friday June 10
and will be available to stream for 48 hours from the start of the live-stream.
Choreography: Paul Lightfoot, Sol León, Crystal Pite, Marco Goecke
Composers: Ludwig van Beethoven, Janis Joplin, Arvo Pärt, Béla Bertók, Franz Schubert, Benjamin Britten, Henry Purcell, Joby Talbot, Johann Strauss Jnr, Christoph W Gluck, Chavela Vargas, Ólafur Arnalds
Costume design: Joke Visser, Hermien Hollander
Original lighting design: Tom Bevoort, Udo Haberland, Tom Visser
Set Design: Sol León and Paul Lightfoot
Film: Rahi Rezvani
World Première 3 October 2019, Zuiderstrandtheater, The Hague, the Netherlands
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.