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, Janice 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.
"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.”
It’s performed with the frame-by-frame urgency of a graphic novel and – herein lies its brilliance.The Guardian
The choreography of Kunstkamer references dance theatre traditions while exploring new frontiers of expression.Artists of Nederlands Dans Theater in Kunstkamer. Choreographers Paul Lightfoot, Sol León, Marco Goecke and Crystal Pite. Photography by Rahi Rezvani ©2021
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
Film 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.
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