The Australian Ballet presents ‘The Dream’

The Australian Ballet's Chengwu Guo and Madeleine Eastoe in The DreamThe Australian Ballet’s widely anticipated new production of The Dream is coming up next month, set to run April 29 to May 16 at Sydney Opera House. The Dream celebrates the life and legacy of one of the greatest choreographers of the 20th century, Frederick Ashton. The production is a triple bill comprising three powerful ballets by Ashton and is a must-see highlight in this year’s ballet season for dance lovers.


This performance is unusual in that it shines the spotlight on male dancers and celebrates the extraordinary talents of The Australian Ballet’s male leads. The rare dominance of male roles in the three-piece production allows male dancers from The Australian Ballet – such as Kevin Jackson, Adam Bull and Brett Chynoweth – to truly shine on stage. In a spectacular show of agility and vigour, these dancers are expected to bring a fresh dynamism and vitality to the English choreographer’s vision, even including the use of pointe shoes for men. The raw strength and athleticism of these dancers is reason alone to see this new production.


However, the second reason this show is not to be missed is its timeliness, with this year marking the 35th anniversary of Sir Frederick Ashton’s death in 1980. Ashton remains one of the most influential figures in British dance history and The Dream appropriately celebrates his legacy.


The program opens with two Ashton gems that showcase the choreographer delighting in music and airy movement, athletic physicality and poetic elegance. Monotones II, last performed in 1979, is a stripped-back masterpiece made famous by its breathtaking pas de trois (dance for three), set to Erik Satie’s ethereal music. For the first time the company will perform Symphonic Variations, a piece made famous for its physical demands on the dancer and a work that showed Ashton could master the space of a huge stage.


Audiences are then invited into Ashton’s enchanted forest with The Dream, which is his critically acclaimed take on Shakespeare’s most charming comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, last performed by the company in 1969. In this, the fate of humans and fairies are hilariously entwined in a flowery bower designed for The Royal Ballet’s original 1960s production. Ashton traces the tangled love lines of the characters with warmth and wit, and Mendelssohn provides the perfect soundtrack, as performed by The Australian Opera and Ballet orchestra, for his elegant, playful choreography.


Sir Frederick Ashton was one of the most influential choreographers of the mid-20th century creating works that embodied British ballet. His ballets have been danced across the globe and were a huge part of the early repertoire of The Australian Ballet.


Artistic Director David McAllister said, “I am so pleased to have these three magnificent works that show the range of his work, from the paired back abstraction of Monotones II to the gloriously romantic plushness of The Dream. The staging of Symphonic Variations is a first for our company and adds one of Sir Fred’s most loved works to our repertoire, around 50 years after we performed our first Ashton ballet.”


For more information on The Dream, visit Tickets are on sale now.


Special programming for this production includes: a 60-minute, family-friendly event; McAllister in Conversation; a Pre-Performance Music Talk with Music Director and Chief Conductor Nicolette Fraillon; a Q&A after a performance with McAllister and a panel of artistic staff and dancers.


Photo: Chengwu Guo and Madeleine Eastoe in The Dream. Photo by Georges Antoni.