An aging knight, two fiery lovers, some gypsies and a whole lot of fun
The Australian Ballet has begun its Melbourne season of this Spanish-flavoured ballet packed with lively dancing. Full of infectious charm and dynamic performances, Don Quixote is both a favourite of the dancers
and perfect for families. After Melbourne the company take this classic to Sydney.
My favourite arts photographer Belinda Strodder attended a final dress rehersal giving us all a sneak peak of what we can expect to see.
“What better way to start a year of masterpieces than with a crowd favourite. This is the perfect ballet for both life-long fans and first-timers.”
Feisty, flirty Kitri is on the run from an arranged marriage, accompanied by her handsome but penniless lover, the barber Basilio. They encounter the Don, who helps them in their escapades, set against the backdrop of sun-drenched rural Spain. Comic moments are off-set by some of ballet’s most spectacular variations, including the thrilling boy-versus-girl coda of the third-act grand pas de deux, where Kitri whips off the
famous 32 fouettes. The bravura dancing and toe-tapping score are matched by richly coloured and elaborate set pieces and exquisite costumes that transport audiences to provincial Spain.
The original ballet version of Don Quixote was conceived by Marius Petipa in 1869 and was first performed at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. It quickly became a mainstay of the European dance repertoire with its unbeatable combination of virtuoso dancing and cracking narrative pace. One hundred years later, Australian audiences were given their very own Don Quixote by one of ballet’s greatest stars: Rudolf Nureyev.
Nureyev first danced with The Australian Ballet in 1964, which began his long and rich association with Australia. He returned six years later, armed with a revival of Don Quixote that he had originally created for the Vienna State Opera. The production opened in Adelaide in March 1970, and has since been performed by the company 374 times. Twenty years after Nureyev’s death in 1993, his Don Quixote has maintained an unwavering popularity with Australian audiences. With its heady mix of Spanish dash and comedy, Don Quixote is the perfect feel-good ballet.
Melbourne March 15 – 26
Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre
100 St Kilda Road
Melbourne VIC 3004
Sydney April 5 – 24
Joan Sutherland Theatre (formerly Opera Theatre),
Sydney Opera House Bennelong Point Circular Quay
Sydney NSW 2000
www.australianballet.com.au or 1300 369 741
Photos – Belinda Strodder – www.dancephotography.net.au