Swan Lake | The Australian BalletAmber Scott and Adam Bull in Swan Lake. Photo - Liz Ham

When The Australian Ballet first premiered Graeme Murphy’s modern take on Swan Lake back in 2002, Adam Bull, a brand new, fresh faced corps de ballet dancer, spent 70 minutes of the performance standing on stage holding a waiter’s tray. His manly skill was also used behind the scenes to suspend ballerinas in the air, creating the illusion of them hovering over a lake.

Audiences may not remember him from those early appearances, since he was backstage or behind props more often than not, but they probably recognize him these days. Recently he has come out of the shadows of background roles and is quickly making his way up the ranks of the company. Already a senior artist and with highly visible, large roles such as Basilio in Don Quixote and Apollo in Balanchine’s Apollo under his belt, Bull is going places. And quickly! He describes it as a “natural progression,” but timing has also played a role in his quick ascension. The retirement and shifting of several leading males in the company has created the opportunity for younger dancers to inhabit bigger roles much more quickly. Bull has not disappointed and will now face his greatest challenge to date - The Prince, in a return season of Murphy’s Swan Lake. It’s a role that recently retired Principal Artist Steven Heathcote made famous in the original premiere and throughout several interstate and overseas tours.

Many would consider Swan Lake Australia’s greatest home-grown ballet and one of the most popular pieces in The Australian Ballet’s repertoire. Its current Melbourne season had already sold out a week before its opening night. 

Based around a love triangle, with many not-so-subtle hints at Britain’s royal family, Swan Lake has successfully toured Australia, London, Cardiff, Shanghai and Japan and will go to Paris this year. Local and foreign audiences alike cannot get enough of this larger than life, beautifully designed and choreographed ballet that puts an updated twist on an old classic. Murphy conceived and created it with Janet Vernon and designer Kristian Fredrikson in 2002 to mark the fortieth anniversary of The Australian Ballet, whose inaugural season had included Dame Peggy van Praagh’s staging of Swan Lake.

Bull describes it as “a massive ballet, as big as Ben Hur, and with such a history already.”

“The technical side is huge. The emotional side is huge,” he said.

While he certainly knows his classical ballet, Murphy injects a modern movement sensibility into the choreography. It is not so abstract as to turn off ballet purists, but contemporary enough to reach wider audiences beyond the ballet crowd.

{xtypo_quote_right}The movement comes from the stomach and guts... you have to find your own way of doing the steps{/xtypo_quote_right}
“The movement comes from the stomach and guts. It’s not typical ballet where everything is placed and angular. There is movement on the floor and massive lifts. You have to find your own way of doing the steps,”
explained Bull. He adds that there is so much thought behind each step and every little movement has a meaning that carries the story.

No longer dancing principal characters himself, Heathcote is now coaching Bull to take over the famous role and make it his own.

Bull describes Heathcote as a genius and a wonderful guy whose information is invaluable, but said that, “In the end, though, you take the information and find your own way of doing the steps. I’ll have a different way of interpreting [The Prince] than Steven.”

Bull with share the role of The Prince with Principal Artists Robert Curran, Damien Welch and Yosvani Ramos.

The Australian Ballet presents
Swan Lake

Choreography Graeme Murphy
Music Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Concept Graeme Murphy, Kristian Fredrikson & Janet Vernon
Set and costume design Kristian Fredrikson
Lighting design Damien Cooper

with Orchestra Victoria

Venue: the Arts Centre, State Theatre
Dates: 14/3/2008 - 26/3/2008
Duration: approx 175 minutes, incl. two 20-minute intervals
Bookings: 1300 136 166 or ticketmaster.com.au

with Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra

Venue: Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Dates: 4/4/2008 - 24/4/2008
Duration: approx 175 minutes, incl. two 20-minute intervals
Bookings: Box Office (02) 9250 7777 | sydneyoperahouse.com.au | Ticketek* 132 849 or ticketek.com.au | *Ticketek per ticket selling fee will apply

For further information click here»

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