Dobell Ballet World Premiere at Lake Mac
The first ballet to feature the famous portrait and landscape painter Sir William Dobell was launched to a sold-out audience at the multi-arts pavilion, mima, in Lake Macquarie.
MAP mima curator Pippa Budge said Friday night’s premiere of the new ballet Storm Approaching Wangi and Other Desires was performed to a packed house.
The ballet merges dance, music and art, with four talented creatives driving the work.
“The stage in the Arts Pavilion opens up to the sky and the lake, providing the perfect place to present an exploration of life, art and Dobell’s relationship with Lake Macquarie,” she said. declared.
Named after Dobell’s epic landscape painting Storm Approaching Wangi, which won the prestigious Wynne Prize in 1948, the ballet follows the artist from his childhood to his later years, reclusive in his Wangi Wangi home and studio.
It’s the brainchild of award-winning local artist James Drinkwater, whose direction influenced everything from storytelling and music to costumes and sets.
Drinkwater said he was driven to create the ballet after reading about Dobell and being impressed with his work.
“Everybody wishes there was something they did,” he said.
“For me, it’s always been ballet.”
The artist discussed his idea for a Dobell ballet with people he knew from the opera and dance worlds, “but the opportunities weren’t there, and I’m not one to take them. expect “.
“I just said to myself, ‘Let’s do it,'” he said.
Choreographers Belle Beasley and Skip Willcox assembled a troupe of four professional dance artists – Alexander Abbot, Allie Graham and Strickland Young, along with Beasley – and two young dancers, Drinkwater’s son Vinnie and Matthew Mortimer, portraying Dobell like a boy and his friend. .
Alexander Abbot, who has performed across Australia and overseas, plays the adult Dobell, interpreting his multi-faceted personality and career through dance.
Although there are many biographies and stories about Dobell’s life, Skip Willcox said there is no dance work yet.
“So it’s really exciting to be able to interpret your life in dance and bring the characters of your life into the show,” she said.
“It’s going to be relationship-driven. It’s really about who he was and the people who influenced him and who he had connections with.
Beasley said she hoped audiences would take away some idea of who Dobell was and when he became one of Australia’s most influential artists.
“I would love it if audiences walked away not only knowing Dobell’s name, but having a sense of who he was as a person, and also the world he lived in,” she said.
Storm Approaching Wangi and Other Desires, with music composed by Joseph Franklin, continues with a 7 p.m. performance on Saturday and a 5 p.m. performance on Sunday.
Visit arts.lakemac.com.au for tickets and more information.
Storm Approaching Wangi and Other Desires is part of the MAP mima presents program, supported by Lake Macquarie Town Council, the NSW Government through Create NSW and through the Australian Government’s Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand Fund.