Shakespeare, Gershwin and Little Red deliver a season that “shimmers with stardust”.

Queensland Ballet supporters and season ticket holders were treated to a glittering preview of the company’s upcoming 2016 season – A Light Fantastic.

Queensland Ballet wraps up their highly successful 2015 season of fairy tale ballets, including their international debut at London’s Coliseum Theatre, with Sleeping Beauty in October. Artistic Director Li Cunxin proved ambitious as always as he unveiled the 2016 season that he described as “a programme of glamour, a season of enchantment, and a golden age of ballet.”

Dance Dialogues © Simon Lekias

The evening was opened by Principal Dancer Clare Morehen, recently returned from accepting the Outstanding Award for Performance by a Company at the Australian Dance Awards for QB’s Romeo & Juliet. She spoke candidly about her appreciation to the sponsors and supporters, and the impact that they have on her and the other dancers, before handing over to Artistic Director Li Cunxin to present the 2016 programme.

The season will open in April with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, co-produced with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Principals Laura Hidalgo and Hao Bin performed an elegant preview pas de deux from the magical ballet to rapturous applause.

Company Dancers Rian Thompson and Jack Lister in Strictly Gershwin © Simon Lekias

Strictly Gershwin is perhaps Queensland Ballet’s most ambitious undertaking to date – a 1930s “big band tribute” to the music of George and Ira Gershwin, it will incorporate tap dance and ballroom in addition to the usual tutus and pointe shoes. Bill Simpson, one of Australia’s most notable tap dancers and the founder of Red Hot Rhythm, has been in studio assisting the ballerinas with their tap work and joined company dancers Rian Thompson and Jack Lister on the City Hall stage for a scintillating tap trio.

From the elegant glamour of the thirties, audiences will be drawn into the raw emotion of the war-torn forties with Lest We Forget. Featuring a triple-bill of works from Paul Taylor, Ma Cong and Natalie Weir, Lest We Forget promises to be a poignant reflection on those who fought, and those who were left behind. Junior Soloist Emilio Pavan partnered Clare Morehen for an emotional and acrobatic contemporary duet, excerpted from Ma Cong’s piece In the Best Moments.

Tututus on Tour © Simon Lekias

In 2016, Queensland Ballet will partner with Queensland Performing Arts Centre and their Out of the Box festival to launch QB’s My First Ballet series with Little Red Riding Hood. Choreographed by Lucas Jervies and set to an original score, the ballet highlights the company’s dedication to providing beautiful ballet for all ages.

Annual favourites including the intimate Dance Dialogues studio series and the Christmas classic The Nutcracker were confirmed for 2016. The company will also be packing up their pointe shoes and performing in regional locations throughout Queensland as part of Tutus on Tour throughout September and October.

Yanela Pinera © Simon Lekias

Queensland Ballet will continue their habit of collaboration next year, partnering with the Royal New Zealand Ballet and Queensland Symphony Orchestra for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. QSO will also be partners for Queensland Ballet’s performances of Lest We Forget and The Nutcracker. Nigel Gaynor was announced as the new Music Director and Principal Conductor of Queensland Ballet at the season launch.

Audiences should look forward to a 2016 season that “shimmers with stardust” as Queensland Ballet continues to establish itself as one of the prominent ballet companies in this country.

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