Serena Graham and Joseph Romancewicz in New Ghost.

The Australian Ballet to Release 5 New Short Works for BodyTorque.Digital

Over 25 Artists Use Creative Spirit During Isolation Transferred to Film

The Australian Ballet has unveiled the first two productions in its five-part Bodytorque.Digital series, showcasing new dance works created by developing choreographers and emerging composers. Created on and performed by dancers of The Australian Ballet, with music performed by players from Orchestra Victoria, this year’s Bodytorque series has been specifically designed for the digital space.

Benedicte Bemet in Capriccio

Bodytorque.Digital is a COVID-19 retake on the regular Bodytorque program, which The Australian Ballet has been offering to develop new Australian choreographic talent since 2004. The works created through the program would normally beperformed live in theatres. During the COVID-19 enforced isolation period, the company conceived Bodytorque.Digital to continue its commitment to foster the creativity of The Australian Ballet’s dancers and to develop choreographic talent.

Five up-and-coming choreographers were given the opportunity to develop new works in which all elements – choreography, dancers, music, and cinematography – are utilised to create something more than simply dance on film. This has been achieved while working together remotely with the assistance of digital connectivity and virtual rehearsals. The full Bodytorque.Digital series will feature the work of five developing choreographers – François-Eloi Lavignac, Amelia Drummond, Jill Ogai, Tim Coleman and Mason Lovegrove – and will be released over the coming months. Three of the pieces will be filmed at the National Gallery of Victoria.

The first work by dancer and choreographer François-Eloi Lavignac, in collaboration with The Australian Ballet’s pianist Kylie Foster, is titled Capriccio and was created with Principal Artist Benedicte Bemet while both dancers were working from home during weeks of isolation. The artists rehearsed via Microsoft Teams during the development of the piece.

Lavignac and Bemet have been workshopping the content for this work since 2017, when Bemet endured a career-threatening injury. It has now come full circle to be completed for the 2020 BodyTorque.Digital season. Capriccio is captured in a powerful film with cinematography and production provided by Brett Ludeman from The Australian Ballet’s Recording & Broadcast team. It was filmed in the empty halls and exhibition spaces of the National Gallery of Victoria as a collaboration with Orchestra Victoria. Capriccio aims to show a cycle in which the dancer’s reality and thought process are intertwined in a dance where they run from themselves only to find themselves at the beginning.

“We both enjoyed re-visiting this content, giving it new meaning and also creating new content to represent us, three years later. The beauty of the movement comes from a genuine place of wondering, picturing and constantly researching,” says Lavignac.

The second work is New Ghost created by dancer Mason Lovegrove and features real-life couple Serena Graham and Joseph Romancewicz. It was shot against the old masters in National Gallery of Victoria and features a specially composed score by Tomas Parrish. This intimate film will remind you of everything you love about live dance. Creator Mason Lovegrove says New Ghost looks at how we respond to fear and change.

“Who is change, who is fear? A pit in your stomach, empty lungs, shaking hands. What happens when you sit with them? Get to know them, make peace with them? New Ghost was created through a process of exploring and understanding. Asking questions and being patient when the answers don’t immediately appear,” Mason Lovegrove.

Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet David McAllister says, “Bodytorque, The Australian Ballet’s choreographic development program, has been an incubator for new works and a place of experiment and research for a generation of creators. In recent years, it has also become a wonderful point of collaboration with Orchestra Victoria.”

Artistic Director of Orchestra Victoria Nicolette Fraillon says, “Three of the choreographers leapt at the opportunity to work with emerging Australian composers and develop their new works in collaboration. Confined to their respective homes, choreographers, dancers and musicians have worked together online, sharing and developing ideas, giving feedback to one another.

“They have developed short works which embody the spirit of creative togetherness and collaboration, which is the essence of the artform, and which continues despite the current challenges of physical limitations and restrictions.

“Over the past few years of Bodytorque, members of Orchestra Victoria and pianists of The Australian Ballet have been integral to the creative process and will be performing and recording the music for each of the works. Should we be able to perform a Bodytorque live season in the future, the new compositions have been written with a view to expansion for live performance.”

The Bodytorque.Digital series will be released one-by-one over the coming weeks on The Australian Ballet’s Ballet TV website. Watch BodyTorque series here:

BODYTORQUE.DIGITAL by The Australian Ballet and Orchestra Victoria

Work One: Capriccio (Watch here)
Choreographer François-Eloi Lavignac
Dancer Benedicte Bemet
Composer J.S Bach “Lament” from Cappricio in B Flat
Pianist Kylie Foster
Cinematographer Brett Ludeman

Work Two: New Ghost  (Watch here)
Choreographer Mason Lovegrove
Dancers Serena Graham and Joseph Romancewicz
Composer Tomas Parrish (new composition)
Musicians Erica Kennedy (violin) and Melissa Chominsky (cello)

Work Three
Choreographer Jill Ogai
Dancer Jill Ogai
Composer Telemann, 12 Fantasies TWV 4017: Fantasia no.4: Grave and Bach: Violin Partita No.1 in B minor, BWV 1002: VIII. Double
Musicians Melissa Chominsky (cello) and Yi Wang (violin)

Work Four
Choreographer Tim Coleman
Dancers Jasmin Durham, Callum Linnane, Drew Hedditch, Marcus Morelli, Katherine Sonnekus, Jade Wood and Jett Ramsey
Composer Georgia Scott (new composition)
Musicians: Duncan Salton (piano), Mat Levy (percussion) and Melissa Chominsky (cello)

Work Five
Choreographer Amelia Drummond
Dancers Belle Urwin and Adam Elmes
Composer Natalie Nicolas (new composition)
Musicians Yi Wang (violin) Tom Higham (viola) and Dianne Froomes (cello)





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