The Australian Ballet

Your guide to our World Ballet (Birth)Day

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This Wednesday 2 November, we’ll be lighting the candles for a very special World Ballet Day, held on our 60th birthday.

Join us on our live stream to get an intimate perspective on the workings of our company. You’ll see morning class and rehearsals, peek inside the costume department, get insight into our 2023 season and find out about our vital research with La Trobe University into dancers’ muscles. We also have some very special hosts and guests to help celebrate our anniversary and reminisce about The Australian Ballet’s history.

We’re so excited for this fabulous birthday bash! Along with our fellow hosts The Royal Ballet, we look forward to welcoming over 60 companies to the World Ballet Day stream, including Paris Opera Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and National Ballet of Canada. It’s going to be our biggest yet!

Here’s a preview of the day’s highlights.

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Photo Kate Longley

Morning Class

Start the day the ballet way – at the barre. There are close to 80 dancers in our company, so we split the classes between different studios. See if you can spot your favourites in our World Ballet Day class, which will be taken by Artistic Director David Hallberg.

All around the world, a classical ballet class follows the same format: exercises at the barre, followed by centre work, consisting of adage (slow movements that build stability and control), combinations (which include turns and test the memory, balance and agility) and jumps, which build from small warm-up leaps to the spectacular grand allegro. There’s a beautiful organic logic to the progression of class – the body is slowly and systematically warmed up from the feet through every major joint, and the dancer fine tunes their motor control and musicality while getting a good cardio workout. That’s why we recommend ballet class for everyone! Have you tried it?

Class is the dancers’ time for checking in with themselves – and for experimentation. That’s why what you see in the studio might not be as perfect as what you’ll see on stage. Even when they get to be principal artists, our dancers still use class to try out different approaches to steps and test their edge.

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David McAllister
Photo Kate Longley

Star Power

As a special birthday treat, we’re reuniting the Davids to take you down memory lane. Our former Artistic Director David McAllister will join current Artistic Director David Hallberg to take you through six decades of The Australian Ballet. We’ll also have some surprise guests appearing to help us celebrate: expect stars from each generation of the company’s history.

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Principal Artists Sharni Spencer and Callum Linnane
Photo Chris Rodgers-Wilson

Romeo and Juliet Rehearsals

What’s your favourite part of Romeo and Juliet? If, like many people, you answered “the balcony scene”, you’re in luck: we’ll be rehearsing it for our upcoming Sydney season. Of all the pas de deux in ballet, this must be the one that most perfectly captures the rollercoaster ecstasy of first love, responding to the swooping, swooning Prokofiev music. Our Principal Artists Benedicte Bemet and Joseph Caley (who is newly arrived from English National Ballet) will dance the lovestruck couple, with input from our Principal Coach Fiona Tonkin. You’ll also get a fight scene (swords and all), with our Ballet Master Steven Heathcote taking the rehearsal.

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Jada Narkle, Brianna Kell and Zoe Wozniak
Photo © Sam Roberts Photography

DanceX Rehearsal

Our DanceX festival has drawn to an end, but we’re still feeling the love from this extraordinary event, which united companies from all over Australia. In this rehearsal, dancers from Australian Dance Theatre will run through an excerpt from The Third, choreographed by their Artistic Director, Daniel Riley. Feeling inspired? You can learn a section from The Third in the privacy of your own home.

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Principal Artists Adam Bull and Amy Harris
Photo Kate Longley

Annealing Rehearsal

Our Resident Choreographer Alice Topp made Annealing for our Instruments of Dance program, which will have its Sydney premiere on 10 November. Melbourne audiences were blown away by its emotional pas de deux and spectacular golden costumes. You’ll see Alice explaining the inspiration for the work before watching Ballet Master Steven Heathcote rehearse Principal Artists Amy Harris and Adam Bull in one of the key pas de deux.

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Christopher Rodgers-Wilson, Imogen Chapman and Drew Hedditch
Photo Kate Longley

Everywhere We Go Rehearsal

The finale of the Instruments of Dance program is Everywhere We Go by Justin Peck, the resident choreographer of New York City Ballet. Here you’ll get a close-up look at its dreamy fluidity, humour and explosive pace. The rehearsal will be taken by our Ballet Mistress Elizabeth Toohey, and afterwards we’ll chat with her and the dancers.