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The Australian Ballet Regional Tour: Ballet Gala

Recent years have been painful for industries across the board. But none quite like the arts, literally brought to its knees with lockdowns, lockouts, distancing laws and venue closures.

By Hannah Muir

At the same time as the biggest disruption to Australia’s cultural life, The Australian Ballet Company were navigating another element of change, though this one positive. One of fresh ideas and perspective in the appointment of their new artistic director, David Hallberg.

While the beginning of his tenure was not what you’d hope for in the realm of performing arts, there was a silver lining to the absence of performance during the early months.

“I did come with some fresh vision and some energy, and what was so sobering was that I couldn’t realise any of that,” Hallberg says.

“But what I could do was observe the organisation internally, spend time with the dancers off the stage in the studio. I spent a year getting my sea legs and realising how the organisation ticks, what my rapport is with the dancers.”

Now the arts are (thankfully) emerging from their stagnant postings, Hallberg and the rest of the Australian Ballet Company are back in the swing of tours and shows, expressing the fresh perspective Hallberg brings to the role.

This month, The Australian Ballet abandon the confines of their city apartments and the lockdown memories they hold to embark on a regional tour, taking to the stage in both Alice Springs and Darwin.

Originally from America, Hallberg still considers himself somewhat a tourist in Australia.

“To think I’m going to Darwin and Alice Springs and Tasmania for the first time, selfishly that’s really exciting,” he said.

“The dancers are just ready, they’re tired of hearing the word COVID. We got so tired and unmotivated with the lockdowns. We are just so ready to show the new vision of the company.”

The prestige of the company is a treat for Territorian audiences at any time, but this regional tour sees commissioned works by Australian choreographers, Lucas Gervais and Tim Harbour, that are separate from the company’s usual bill.

“(The commissioned pieces) will only be seen on this tour. That’s part of the bigger picture for me, realising what a regional tour means to us and what we share to the city and the towns that we come to,” Hallberg says.

“I want it to be a certain kind of repertoire, unique to the tour, that you can’t see in Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane and Adelaide. I really feel a responsibility to show Australian audiences the cultural gem they have here in this country.”

WHEN THU 18 & FRI 19 AUG | 7.30PM
COST $38- $72

Alice Springs
WHEN FRI 26 AUG | 7.30PM SAT 27 AUG | 1.30PM & 7.30PM
COST $32- $69

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