The Australian Ballet


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Enter a cabinet of curiosities

  • Melbourne | Sydney


  • Duration

    120 mins / 1 Interval

Never before has The Australian Ballet presented contemporary dance of this scale and ambition. Commissioned for the 60th anniversary of Nederlands Dans Theater, the world’s most celebrated contemporary company, and now presented for the first time outside of the Netherlands by The Australian Ballet, Kunstkamer is the joint creation of four choreographers: frequent collaborators Paul Lightfoot and Sol León; Marco Goecke; and the Canadian prodigy Crystal Pite.

Inspired by the 18th-century cabinet of curiosities, this work draws together diverse elements – stark movement, song, film, spoken word – into an eclectic and fascinating whole, bound together by recurring motifs and characters and featuring music by a vast array of composers from Beethoven to Bach to Britten, Janis Joplin to Joby Talbot.

The choreography, moving from the intimacy and humour of solos and pas de deux to intricate waves of ensemble movement, references dance theatre traditions while exploring new frontiers of expression.

Like a modern museum curated with wit and incisive intelligence, Kunstkamer invites you to wonder at the endless possibilities of art.

“Exceptional. Don’t miss this tour de force from the Australian Ballet.”

Syd­ney Morn­ing Herald

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“A magic box of treasures. The company is on fire.”

The Aus­tralian

The choreography of Kunstkamer references dance theatre traditions while exploring new frontiers of expression.

Artists of the Australian Ballet in Kunstkamer. Choreographers Paul Lightfoot, Sol León, Marco Goecke and Crystal Pite. Photography by Daniel Boud ©2022
​A masterpiece. Exceeded all expectations. To say it was perfect is to do it an injustice.


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David's insight

"As The Australian Ballet approaches its 60th anniversary celebrations, it seems fitting to perform a work created as a 60th anniversary celebration. Kunstkamer is dance at its most surprising, seen through the lens of some of the most inventive choreographers working today. This work takes The Australian Ballet in a new direction, exploring new movements and nuances. What unfolds is a world of curiosity and beauty.”

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Production credits


Choreography Paul Lightfoot, Sol León, Crystal Pite, Marco Goecke
Composers Ludwig van Beethoven, Janis Joplin, Arvo Pärt, Béla Bertók, Franz Schubert, Benjamin Britten, Henry Purcell, Joby Talbot, Johann Strauss Jnr, Christoph W Gluck, Chavela Vargas, Ólafur Arnalds
Costume design Joke Visser, Hermien Hollander

Original lighting design Tom Bevoort, Udo Haberland, Tom Visser
Costume design Rahi Rezvani

With Opera Australia Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria

World Première 3 October 2019, Zuiderstrandtheater, The Hague, the Netherlands

Kunstkamer is generously supported by Joan Clemenger AO and Peter Clemenger AO, Linda Herd, Shane Lloyd and Alan Joyce AC and The David Hallberg Fund.