The Australian Ballet School & NICA team up

Posted on: 15/6/2018 4:05PM

NICA teams up with The Australian Ballet SchoolIn the first collaboration of its kind in Australian performance history, the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) and The Australian Ballet School (the ABS) have come together to present an electrifying innovative work combining ballet and circus, Le Sacré. The production is the premiere collaboration between the two organisations.


Featuring 18 second-year circus performers from NICA and 26 level-seven ballet students from the ABS, Le Sacré is an account of dynamism, risk, supreme athleticism and sublime technical physicality. This is a tale of superstition and sacrifice, inspired by the narrative of Nijinsky and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (1913). 


The performance integrates contemporary choreographic explorations using balletic and diverse dance language with a myriad of circus acts, including Skipping Ropes, Chinese Pole, Roué Cyr, Tissue, Hula Hoops, Group Acrobatics and Tightwire. Bringing together these two art forms are NICA Movement and Performance Coordinators Zebastian Hunter and Meredith Kitchen with Artistic Teacher and Resident Choreographer Simon Dowof the ABS.


“Le Sacré draws inspiration from an old dramatic tale reimagined in contemporary glory with references from modern life drawn from electronic dance culture, fashion parades, beauty pageants and talent shows,” said Co-Director Zebastian Hunter. 


The focus of this collaboration is giving these young future artists exposure to new ways of imagining their various artistic disciplines. Le Sacré reflects the brave concept of combining two art forms in ways never before explored.    



“We dare to tread in great footsteps by doing what we must, exploring what is possible, impossible, risk taking within our individual disciplines and placing perceived boundaries further and further away,” said Co-Director Simon Dow.


The cast range in age from 16 to 28, including 24-year-old rope and handstand circus performer Easa Min-Swe and Japanese-born dancer Karina Arimura, whose immersion in ballet hails right back to birth, when she was named after Karena Broch of American Ballet Theatre. Also included are 19-year-old Georgia Webb, who cast off expectations to join the military in favour of studying circus, and 17-year-old Joaquin Thomas-Mourad,a passionate dancer with an impressive resume of previous dance schools before alighting at the ABS.


Hunter, a performance teacher and show director at NICA, was a featured soloist with Cirque Du Soleil from 2009 – 2015. With a Masters Degree in Directing from NIDA, Hunter has worked as an independent director creating site-specific shows, commercial works and new contemporary devised performances in circus. 


Kitchen, a distinguished dancer and choreographer, has worked with Australian Dance Theatre, Dancenorth, Chrissie Parrot Dance Collective, The One Extra Company and legendary Paris company Compagnie Philippe Genty. Kitchenis currently NICA’s Movement Studies Coordinator. 


Dow has created over 50 original works internationally with career credits including principal dancer with The Australian Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Boston Ballet companies; dancer with Stuttgart Ballet; Artistic Director of the Milwaukee Ballet, West Australian Ballet and Associate Artistic Director with The Washington Ballet. He has danced all the major classical roles and leading roles in many of the great contemporary choreographers’ works and is a well-known Master Teacher internationally.  


Le Sacré opened June 14 and runs through June 23, taking place at 7:30 p.m. nightly from Wednesday to Saturday. There’s also a matinee at 2 p.m. on June 23. NICA is located at 39-59 Green St, Prahran. For more information, visit



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