As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. David Hallberg has taken up the challenge.

In Hallberg’s first year as Artistic director – and in David McAllister’s last year in the job – The Australian Ballet’s path has been strewn with disappointments as the COVID-19 pandemic has surged, waned and surged again, causing the heartbreaking cancellation of many performances. But Hallberg is not one to retreat in the face of adversity. He has announced an exciting new addition to the Australian dance calendar, a short, sharp festival called DanceX that will take place at Arts Centre Melbourne in late September and early October.

David Hallberg

Hallberg started thinking about the project last year in September or October when he was still in New York, preparing to move to Australia. The pandemic had closed theatres and “dancers were in their lounge rooms”. Hallberg hit the phones.

The Australian Ballet will be joined for DanceX by seven other leading Australian dance companies – Australian Dance Theatre, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Chunky Move, Lucy Guerin Inc, Queensland Ballet, Sydney Dance Company and West Australian Ballet. TAB will...