Ballet Meets Big Band Glamour

Published on 11th May, 2016

Queensland Ballet dancers Shane Weurthner and Lisa Edwards. Photo Simon Lekias

Strictly Gershwin | Queensland Ballet

Dancers, Jazz Band & Live Singers Bring the Music of Gershwin Alive!

It isn’t opening until late May, but Queensland Ballet‘s upcoming season of Strictly Gershwin is already the Company’s highest selling production ever!

The season, playing at the Lyric Theatre QPAC from 27 May – 4 June, will see the Company step out in style on a huge scale accompanied by a jazz big band live on stage as it celebrates the music of George Gershwin.

Artistic Director, Li Cunxin, says it’s a bold move in a different direction for Queensland Ballet but he believes ballet fans will love it and that it’s a great opportunity to build new audiences.

“Evoking memories of the silver screen magic of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Strictly Gershwin will delight audiences with the much loved Gershwin music paired with so many different forms of dance,” Mr Li said.

“Former Artistic Director of English National Ballet (ENB), Derek Deane, choreographed this dazzling production and this will be the first time another company has performed the work. His choreography demands impeccable technique and versatility in so many different forms of dance which our dancers have taken to with gusto.”

Queensland Ballet dancers Rian Thompson and Jack Lister. Photo Simon Lekias

“This production has something for everyone including beautiful classical ballet, big tap dancing numbers, sweeping musical theatre style performances and jazz dance alongside glamorous ballroom dancing, “ said Li.

The Queensland Ballet will be joined by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) big band live on stage that is very much a part of the production. Live singers will also perform live on stage for some of the bigger numbers, bringing to life some of the most loved Gershwin songs like  Summertime, I Got Rythym, An American in Paris, S’Wonderful and Rhapsody in Blue. The singers featured in Strictly Gershwin are Rachael Beck, Michael Falzon, Luke Kennedy and Alexandra Flood.

The production is on such a big scale that Queensland Ballet has had to bring on guest dancers to swell its ranks for Gershwin.

“I’m delighted to announce that former QB principals Christian Tátchev, Matthew Lawrence and Rachel Walsh will all be returning to the stage for Gershwin in various ways, it will be wonderful to see these talented dancers back performing with our Company,” Mr Li said.

“We’ve also scoured the country to ensure we have the best of the best in tap dancing talent for our big tapping performances headed up by the amazing Bill Simpson who is a tap dancing powerhouse and his tapping partner Kris Kerr.”

Guest tappers include Adam Di Martino, Andrew Ross-Graham, Jayden Grogran, Shay Debney, Amber Miller-Greenman, Natasha Window, Tiarna Leigh, and Victoria Rimington.

“For a while now, Queensland Ballet productions have been expertly accompanied by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, however this season will take that partnership to a whole other level with the orchestra out of the pit and on stage,” Mr Li said.

“From the celebrated Rhapsody in Blue to a medley of Broadway musicals and Hollywood films, there are so many favourite melodies packed into this show.

“We can’t wait to share this unique season with our audiences as we take to the stage bigger and better than ever,” said Li.

Strictly Gerswhin | Queensland Ballet
27th May – 4th June
Lyric Theatre, QPAC, Brisbane
Tickets: www.queenslandballet.com.au

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