The Australian Ballet

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Instruments of Dance

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Movers of the 21st Century

  • Melbourne / Naarm

    September 2022

  • Sydney

    November 2022

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Benedicte Bemet and Brett Chynoweth

Photo Jeff Busby

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Artists of The Australian Ballet

Photo Jeff Busby

In this contemporary triple bill, resident choreographers from three of the world’s top companies respond to scores from modern-day composers working in very different musical fields.

Justin Peck, resident choreographer of New York City Ballet, has invigorated the company with his fresh take on classical technique. He makes his Australian debut with Everywhere We Go. Set to a score commissioned from indie singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens, costumed in witty nautical stripes, it’s a nine-part ballet for 25 dancers who stream in and out of complex group formations and pin-sharp pas de deux. Like his predecessors at New York City Ballet, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, Peck brings the energy of Hollywood and Broadway to the classical stage.

Wayne McGregor’s all-male Obsidian Tear takes us to the shadowy depths of the planet – and the psyche. McGregor, the rigorously cerebral resident choreographer of The Royal Ballet, assembles movement around multi-disciplinary explorations: in this case, into geology, myth and the violent effects of emotion on the body. Responding to violin works by the Finnish conductor-composer Esa-Pekka Salonen, McGregor moves away from the hyperextended, piston-fast movement of works like Chroma and Dyad 1929, finding a more flowing and introspective movement quality. Nine men circle and clash, evoking ritual, brutality, sensuality and the tectonic forces that mould the earth.

The third resident choreographer of the program is The Australian Ballet’s own, Alice Topp. Her new work will feature Australian design and a commissioned score by Australian composer Bryony Marks, and will continue her journey into the emotional core of human experience.

Bringing together fascinating works from three corners of the globe, Instruments of Dance maps the shape of the art form in the 21st century.

A choreograhic breakthrough for Wayne McGregor

Roslyn Sul­cas, The New York Times 

Watch the trailer

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Elijah Trevitt

Photo Jeff Busby

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Samara Merrick and Adam Elmes

Photo Jeff Busby

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Artists of The Royal Ballet. Photography by Tristam Kenton ©2018 ROH

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Artists of The Royal Ballet. Photography by Tristam Kenton ©2018 ROH

Cast sheet and synopsis

Select a location to view the synopsis and cast sheet

Production credits

Instruments of Dance

Everywhere We Go

Choreography Justin Peck
Composer Sufjan Stevens
Costume design Janie Taylor
Original lighting design Brandon Stirling Baker
Set design Karl Jensen

Obsidian Tear

Obsidian Tear was originally commissioned by The Royal Ballet and Boston Ballet and had its premiere at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, on 28 May 2016.

Choreography and Set design Wayne McGregor
Composer Esa-Pekka Salonen
Fashion Director and Designers Katie Shillingford, Craig Green, Hood By Air, Julius, Gareth Pugh, Assaf Reeb, Christopher Shannon, Telfar, Vivienne Westwood
Lighting design Lucy Carter
Dramaturge Uzma Hameed


Choreography Alice Topp
Composers Bryony Marks

With Opera Australia Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria

Alice Topp’s Annealing is generously supported by The Dame Margaret Scott Fund for Choreographers and The Robert & Elizabeth Albert Music Fund.

We thank our production partners