The Australian Ballet

New York Dialects

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Ballet returns to the spotlight with an acclaimed program of work from New York’s best choreographer.

  • Duration

    140 mins


Balanchine’s deeply rooted knowledge of Russian classicism grounded his inspired deviations from it, which galvanised modern dance. Serenade, considered one of the greatest works of the 20th century, was the first work he made on American dancers. The poetry of women in long ice-blue tutus moving in unison to Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C has a simplicity and purity still breathtaking today.

The Four Temperaments

If Serenade is Balanchine at his most lyrical, The Four Temperaments is the epitome of his stark neo-classical style: dancers in black and white leotards and tights performing stripped-back ballet steps skewed in unexpected directions. The score, which Balanchine commissioned from Paul Hindemith, was inspired by the medieval notion that four ‘humours’ govern personality type; it is both sparse and luscious as it explores each of those temperaments.


Pam Tanowitz, from a contemporary dance background, has created work for major ballet companies, including New York City Ballet and The Royal Ballet, as well as for the hallowed modern-dance companies of Martha Graham and Paul Taylor. This world premiere brings Tanowitz' vision for ensemble choreography and her fresh approach to gender roles together in a work primarily using the male dancers of The Australian Ballet. The Pulitzer-prize winning composer Caroline Shaw's concerto Watermark is the perfect score for Tanowitz’s exciting creative vision.

A deliciously seductive triple bill with something for everyone.

The Dai­ly Telegraph

Watch the trailer

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David's insight

“No other ballet has given me more satisfaction as an audience member than Serenade. It is a shining example of the creed that creation doesn’t have to be complicated, only crystal clear in intent.”

“That final pose at the end of The Four Temperaments continues to haunt me. It’s as if the dancers are all four temperaments collectively, and as the curtain closes, with one arm they push the past away and reach for the unwritten future.”

“I have been a fan of Pam’s work for years. She is one of our generation’s most intelligent creators: focused, insightful and original, just as Balanchine was. This world premiere, my first commission for The Australian Ballet, is another great addition to the company's rich commissioned repertoire.”

Production credits


Choreography George Balanchine
©The George Balanchine Trust
Music Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op.48
Costume design Barbara Karinska

Original lighting design Ronald Bates

The Four Temperaments

Choreography George Balanchine
©The George Balanchine Trust
Music Paul Hindemith

Original lighting design Ronald Bates


Choreography Pam Tanowitz
Choreographer's Assistant Melissa Toogood
Music Caroline Shaw
Costume and set design Reid & Harriet

Original lighting design Jon Buswell

With Opera Australia Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria

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We thank our Production Partners