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The Australian Ballet launches its 2020 digital season

Updated: Mar 25, 2023

Illustration: Cindy Chen

In this crazy time of coronavirus, the arts sector has taken a massive hit. Many artists and performers have had to cancel shows, resulting in millions of dollars of audience revenue being lost.

But on the bright side, the arts sector is showing signs of resilience through these tough times with many artists and performers using online technologies to broadcast their talents.

Musicians and artists are holding live performances, dancers are filming online classes, comedians are doing stand-up through podcasts and even the National Gallery in Victoria is providing virtual tours and painting classes.

Illustration: Cindy Chen

While money is still being lost, performers and artists are continuing to bring love, joy and creativity to Australians stuck at home.

The Australian Ballet is no exception.

The Australian Ballet has officially launched its 2020 digital season; kicking off their first performance on Sunday, April 5th with David McAllister’s The Sleeping Beauty.

For the first time ever, The Australian Ballet has decided to replace their original plan for the 2020 season, by digging up some of their best archived performances and releasing them to the public to watch on Ballet TV for free.

The performances will be available for limited periods before they will be taken down, but while they are up, you won’t have to pay a cent!

Artistic Director for The Australian Ballet and Director behind the 2015 production of The Sleeping Beauty; David McAllister was particularly excited to bring back this performance to digital viewers this season.

Illustration: Cindy Chen

For anyone who missed out on McAllister’s production of The Sleeping Beauty last season, or who have never had the opportunity to see the ballet at all, now is your chance!

“This was an incredible highlight for me. An opportunity to bring the great ballet The Sleeping Beauty to the stage, in a way that we haven’t seen before,” said David McAllister.

You’ll have the chance to witness the breathtaking performance, full of spectacular dancers including the likes of Lana Jones (as Aurora) and Amber Scott (as The Lilac Fairy) up until Friday, April 17th. Jones has previously been noted for her roles as other leading ladies such as Odette of Swan Lake and Cinderella. Scott has also played Aurora and Odette.

You don’t have to be a ballet connoisseur to appreciate the beauty of this performance; with its colourful costumes and elegant sets. The girls, especially, so light and dainty on their feet.

If you are unfamiliar with how to follow, don’t fret. Each Act has a little synopsis to help you through the story.

Illustration: Cindy Chen

But the major advantage of having a digital season (besides the fact that you can watch it for free), is the immersiveness of your experience.

The show is filmed in such a way that you can easily follow characters and get up-close and personal with the beauty and wonder on display.

Another bonus is that you get a little sneak peek at the fabulous live orchestra playing up the front, a sight you very rarely see as an audience member unless you’ve got the best seats in the house.

I personally couldn’t help but feel completely immersed in the world of Sleeping Beauty and I think you will too.

Illustration: Cindy Chen

If you enjoyed the performance, or you’re already a ballet fanatic, why not explore the many other behind the scene clips for an even deeper experience of the incredible world of ballet.

“I’m really thrilled that we can share it with you again, and the best news is it’s for free,” said McAllister of his show.

The hope is, now that The Australian Ballet has opened its viewing experience to the wider public by streaming shows gratuitously, the world of ballet will no longer be exclusively available to the uber-wealthy and elite of society.

The Ballet, like all art and culture, should be experienced by everyone, including you and me.

It looks as if this new world pandemic has opened up the door to a range of new possibilities for the ballet world moving forward.

Illustration: Cindy Chen


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