The Australian Ballet

Counterpointe

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A triple bill featuring the elegant classic Raymonda (Act III), William Forsythe's contemporary Artifact Suite and George Balanchine’s beloved Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.

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  • Duration

    100 mins / 1 Interval

See the extremes of ballet collide

Counterpointe pairs an excerpt from the elegant 19th-century classic Raymonda with the mesmerising complexity of Artifact Suite, by the radically inventive choreographer William Forsythe, and adds George Balanchine’s beloved Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.

In the late 20th century Forsythe revolutionised the European dance scene, reimagining classical technique and challenging his dancers with extended shapes. Artifact Suite, a stunningly intricate ensemble work, showcases his groundbreaking style: clarified speed, extensions of form and dynamically fast weight changes. Fierce, fast pas de deux are framed by the mathematically precise movement of the corps in this electrifying work.

The third act of Marius Petipa’s Raymonda depicts the wedding of its aristocratic heroine. As he did in The Sleeping Beauty and Paquita, Petipa uses the celebration to create an impressive display of technique, with Hungarian-inflected dances culminating in a languorous solo for the leading ballerina. This is classical ballet at its most regal.

Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, with its lyrical duet and delicate female variation, its explosive jumps and fishdives, is a tribute to Petipa’s grand pas de deux; but it also has the speed and attack that give Balanchine’s choreography an edge of risk and modernity. Counterpointe gives us the extremes of ballet, in contrast and conversation.

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Photography by Daniel Boud

The radical innovations of Artifact Suite afford a bracing contrast with the elegance of Raymonda and George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.

A bold, brave and accessible collection of three distinct and landmark pieces

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David's insight

“The juxtaposition of Raymonda and Artifact Suite shows the evolution of classical ballet. Raymonda adheres to tradition and pageantry; Forsythe took this history and ‘imitated’ it, creating a work that overwhelms both dancers and audience with gestural references given new meaning. These seminal works both counteract and perfectly complement each other."

Production credits

Raymonda (Act III)

Choreography after Marius Petipa
Staged by David Hallberg
Music Aleksandr Glazunov
Costume and set design Hugh Colman

Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux

Choreography George Balanchine
©The George Balanchine Trust
Music Piotr Illyich Tchaikovsky
Excerpt from Swan Lake, Op. 20, Act III

Artifact Suite

Choreography, stage, light and costume design William Forsyth
Music
Part I Bach Chaconne from Partita Nr.2 BWV 1004 in D-Minor
Part II Eva Crossman-Hecht

With Adelaide Symphony Orchestra

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Artists of The Australian Ballet. Photography by Daniel Boud 2021

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Artists of The Australian Ballet. Photography by Daniel Boud 2021

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