The Australian Ballet’s latest offering, Instruments of Dance is a contemporary triple bill from different corners of the globe. Resident choreographers from three of the world’s top companies respond to scores from modern-day composers working in very different musical fields.

In Wayne McGregor’s Obsidian Tear, nine men circle and clash, evoking ritual, brutality, sensuality and the tectonic forces that mould the earth. McGregor is the rigorously cerebral resident choreographer of The Royal Ballet. Responding to violin works by the Finnish conductor-composer Esa-Pekka Salonen, McGregor’s piece has a flowing and introspective movement quality that explores geology, myth and the violent effects of emotion on the body. Set against a minimalist backdrop, it has a brutally hypnotic beauty.

Next, the Australian Ballet’s resident choreographer Alice Topp introduces her new work, Annealing. Featuring a dazzling Australian design and a commissioned score by Australian composer Bryony Marks, it continues her journey into the emotional core of the human experience. You will be riveted by this uplifting performance.

Justin Peck makes his Australian debut with Everywhere We Go. Peck is the resident choreographer of New York City Ballet whose fresh take on classical technique has invigorated the company. Set to a score commissioned by indie singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens, costumed in witty nautical stripes, this is a nine-part ballet for 25 dancers who stream in and out of complex group formations and pin-sharp pas de deux. Like his predecessors at New York City Ballet, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, Peck injects the glamour and energy of Hollywood / Broadway into the classical stage.

Instruments of Dance maps the shape of the art form in the 21st century, and it is a thoroughly enjoyable night at the ballet.

  • Where: Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
  • When: 10 – 26 November 2022
  • Purchase tickets here.

Photo credit: Tristam Kenton