14 Sep 2020

THIS WEEKEND: Queensland Ballet to delight at Empire Theatre

The Empire Theatre will come alive when Queensland Ballet presents its new season 60 Dancers, 60 Stories on Saturday 19 September.

The Company dancers created the works during the COVID-19 lockdown and has since turned the digital series into a live performance, set to inspire and delight audiences.

Queensland Ballet’s Artistic Director Li Cunxin said returning to the stage has been a momentous occasion for the Company, after its entire 2020 season was postponed to 2021 as a result of COVID-19. The Company Artists had to practice and rehearse from home for nearly four months.

“We are thrilled to be back on the stage, not only to do what we love, but to give back to our audiences who have been so generously supportive through this unprecedented time,” said Mr Li.

“Our dancers poured their creativity and heart into creating these individual works for 60 Dancers, 60 Stories, and I know these pieces will allow our audiences to connect with our dancers on an emotional level,” he added.

In their 60th year, Queensland Ballet’s 60 talented artists created 60 new works based on the theme of LOVE to inspire audiences with their magical art form, all whilst they were in isolation.

“An explosion of passion and creativity, 60 Dancers, 60 Stories is based on our push to survive as an arts organisation, intact, and connected with our audiences,” said Mr Li.

The pieces were released online throughout the month of June, with the Company dancers given full artistic license to conceptualise, choreograph, perform and film to create a body of work that is truly authentic, original and inspired by our dislocated new world.

Principal Artists Yanela Piñera and Camilo Ramos originally created and performed their work in their small apartment living room. Pinera said it was great to be able to bring it to life on stage.

“Well it’s been great not to have to worry about literally hitting the wall as we dance, like in our digital piece,” she laughed.

“But seriously it’s great to be back on stage. It is impossible to measure the joy we feel or the energy we get from the audience. We are so grateful to be performing for a live audience again,” she said.

Their piece focused on the physical aspect of the theme LOVE. Colleague and Company Artist Luke Dimattina focused on a place he loved, returning to a beach which held many fond childhood memories for him to film.

He said the big challenge was adapting his piece for stage.

“In the online piece the setting is such a prominent backdrop for the dance. The angles, of the stairs all help to create a contemporary feel. Having to recreate the feel of the beach for the audience required me to work harder, rather than relying on nature to do the work for me,” he said.

Empire Theatres General Manager Kerry Saul said hosting Queensland Ballet during the Carnival of Flowers gives an opportunity for tourism in the region.

“The Empire Theatre is a venue that has managed to hold a successful reopening season over the past few months thanks to the support of Arts Queensland and the Queensland Government’s pilot program,” Mr Saul said.

“Because of that success and Arts Queensland’s Play Local grant, we are able to provide this performance by Queensland Ballet to local and visiting festival attendees during what is normally a very busy and prosperous weekend for Toowoomba businesses,” Mr Saul said.

“We have a long history of working with both Arts Queensland and Queensland Ballet and look forward to doing so again as we navigate continuing to provide high quality entertainment in our stunning Empire Theatre into the future.”

Queensland Ballet will present 60 Dancers, 60 Stories live at Toowoomba’s Empire Theatre on Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Saturday 19 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

To secure your ticket, go to https://empiretheatre.com.au/event/849/queensland-ballet-60-dancers-60-stories9r0m0e0487756c389b6337ef8feb8362e63fb7

To access Highlights vision of 60 Dancers, 60 Stories for media use, go to https://vimeo.com/453874301/7b80bdfc62