5 Reasons You Need to See Molto

Posted on 26 September 2019 By Rose Mulready

Breaking news: We're performing Frederick Ashton's A Month in a Country for the first time ever in 2020. It's the centrepiece of our Molto bill. The emotional journey of this modern classic will be bookended by slick, sleek contemporary dance and whimsical wit. Let's browse the smorgasbord ...


Between them, Frederick Ashton and George Balanchine shaped ballet in the 20th century. In New York, Balanchine built a reputation on bold, sometimes brash, highly athletic works. Over the other side of the Atlantic, Ashton developed the lyrical, expansive style of The Royal Ballet, all fluttering feet and subtle emotion conveyed with the lightest touch. When Ashton saw Turgenev's A Month in the Country on the West End, he found it melodramatic. But something in the story of a handsome young tutor who upends the lives of three women in a country house appealed to him (he was, in his own life, no stranger to unrequited love). His one-act ballet transforms the play into a hothouse flower of lustful undercurrents, missed connections, melancholy and regret. Chopin music flows underneath its yearning pas de deux.

Amber Scott. Photography Kate Longley


Tim Harbour's 2017 follow-up to the smash-hit Filigree and Shadow is a blur of fast, complex movement by dancers in geometric leotards, reflected and multiplied in space-age mirrored cloths. Inspired by the theories of economist George Bataille, Harbour works with ideas of energy built and released.

Amanda McGuigan. Photography Kate Longley


In 2010, our Resident Choreographer Stephen Baynes said to himself, "And now, for something completely different ..." Usually known for his refined, elegant neo-Classicism, Baynes unleashed his dry humour in Molto Vivace, a madcap romp in a garden setting. Punk cupids, tangled ribbons, and crayon-bright costumes designed by Anna French dial up the fun, and a lyrical interlude shows us the quintessential Baynes: pas de deux as poetry.

Artists of The Australian Ballet. Photography Jeff Busby


Why go to one ballet when you can get three in one program? Sometimes we like to theme a triple bill around a style or a historical moment, and sometimes we like to take you through all points of the ballet compass. Molto is a crash-course in all the places dance can go, and has a mood to fit (or take you out of) whatever mood you're in.

Daniel Gaudiello in Molto Vivace. Photography Jeff Busby


The nostalgic ripple of Chopin in A Month in the Country. The polite sprightliness of Handel (used to sly effect) in Molto Vivace. And Weather One, a wave of insistent strings by Australian composer Michael Gordon, which provides the impetus for Squander and Glory. The music takes you to as many different places as the dance.

Andrew Killian and Dana Stephensen in Squander and Glory. Photography Lynette Wills