The Australian Ballet

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What's in your cabinet of curiosities?

063 Kunstkamer TAB Sydney credit Daniel Boud 1

Kunstkamer, the captivating contemporary dance spectacle was partly inspired by 18th century Dutch pharmacist and collector Albertus Seba’s ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’; a personal collection of natural specimens he had illustrated and documented in a four-volume book.

We sat down with a group of our dancers between performances to ask them what they would put in their own ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. Books, coins, collectibles (cats!)…Their selections reveal fascinating insights about who they are as artists and people.

What would you put in your Cabinet of Curiosities?

Bemet KK

Principal Artist Benedicte Bemet on stage during the Sydney season of Kunstkamer. Photo Daniel Boud

Benedicte Bemet

What's in your Cabinet of Curiosities?

A bunch of books because I love reading. There would also be philosophies of the world in there, questions and learnings about what makes a life meaningful, and how you find contentment. There might be a snow globe with people’s answers, or advice from lives that have previously been lived. I think we can learn a lot from other people’s stories.

Elmes KK

Corps de ballet dancer Adam Elmes shares the stage with Artistic Director David Hallberg. Photo Daniel Boud.

Adam Elmes

What's in your Cabinet of Curiosities?

I’ve collected coins since I was young. I haven’t travelled much, so I think it was a way of getting my hands on something from outside Australia. I would ask my friends or family to bring me back a coin from any place they travelled to. I have a set of about 30 coins at home, each from a different country. I love observing the differences in each and seeing how the culture can come through in this little object, through its shape and insignias.

Tab 2

Artists of the Australian Ballet. Photo Pierre Toussaint.

Montana Rubin

What's in your Cabinet of Curiosities?

When I think about a Cabinet of Curiosities I think about collectibles, extraordinary things and notable items. Personally, I'm not overly sentimental about tangible objects. So in my cabinet I’d have important life lessons, values and behaviours, and concepts that I live by on and offstage. These are learnings I’ve inherited, and things I want to pass on to others.

Hedditch KK

Coryphee Drew Hedditch embraces the energies and impulses on stage in Kunstkamer. Photo Daniel Boud.

Drew Hedditch

What's in your Cabinet of Curiosities?

The first thing I’d put in my cabinet would be photographs of people, places and things. Even if it's historical photos, or photos of people I don’t know. I think sometimes the most interesting thing is looking at a photo you know nothing about, and how you interpret that image. You create your own story of what’s going on in that time and place in that moment that’s been captured. The other thing I’d put in is my cat, because she's curious.


Artists of the Australian Ballet. Photo Pierre Toussaint.

Larissa Kiyoto-Ward

What's in your Cabinet of Curiosities?

I have a few things. Socks and little washing items that you seem to lose all the time. I’m curious about these things, and I always wonder where you’re supposed to put them. So I’d put them in my cabinet. I’m also very interested in history, and all those aspects of history we don’t’ know much about. No matter how much we learn or uncover, there is still so much to know about people’s lived experiences during a certain time. I don’t understand how people say history is boring! I would definitely put historical knowledge in my cabinet.

Also, I’m so curious about what’s going on down in the deep sea. I often think we should really explore what’s going on here on our planet before we worry about going to other planets. We just need to preserve what we have here. I'd put something from the deep sea in my cabinet.

Trevitt KK

Corps de ballet dancer Elijah Trevitt in the rehearsal studio ahead of the Kunstkamer season opening. Photo Kate Longley.

Elijah Trevitt

What's in your Cabinet of Curiosities?

I’ve always been quite a creative and imaginative person. I think if I was to have a Cabinet of Curiosities with material things in there, I would have one-of-a-kind works by artists I admire. I would also have the original guitars that some iconic records were recorded with. My cabinet would have objects that have a lot of individual history behind them, that all come together to tell a story.

If I was thinking in more abstract terms, I would have a cabinet full of different scents. Scent is something I equate with nostalgia. Scent transports me back to a certain time in my life, and I remember where I was, or what I was doing. I think I’d have a cabinet of really important scents that would make me think of different times in my life.

Sm 1

Samara Merrick creates a striking silhouette in Kunstkamer rehearsals. Photo Kate Longley.

Samara Merrick

What's in your Cabinet of Curiosities?

I’d have to have journaling books in there. I started journaling a couple of years ago. Instead of having a photo album of memories, I like to write down my memories and things that have happened in my life, either good or bad. I have a couple of books now that I’ve been collecting with memories I’ve recorded. I find it very nostalgic and calming, it makes me happy looking back and reading things I’ve written down.

Watch video interviews with out dancers HERE