Queensland Ballet | La Bayadere

QB Artists Yanela Pinera and Joel Woellner in La Bayadere Photo Justin Ridler

World Premiere of new La Bayadere Opens 2018 Season for QB

March 16 – 31

Queensland Ballet audiences will be given a rare treat when the Company opens its first production for the 2018 season on March 16 with the world premiere of Greg Horsman’s La Bayadere.

Horsman’s lavish production of La Bayadere (French for ‘the temple dancer’) sees the ballet set in colonial India in 1855 under British rule, bringing it closer in time than the original version. It follows the tragic love story of Prince Solor, Nikiya and Edith (Gamzatti in the original version).

Queensland Ballet Artistic Director, Li Cunxin, said he is quite impatient to open this production to Brisbane audiences as he knows it will be breathtaking.

“I have long loved La Bayadere and I’m thrilled we are creating a new version of this production for our audiences,” Mr Li said.

“Greg’s version of this ballet doesn’t change a lot of the original choreography for the Principals and Shades scene by Marius Petipa from the 19th century, but he has brought the story into a new era and setting which I think adds to its relevance and beauty.

“Audiences will be delighted to know that many of the ballet’s iconic moments, such as the Kingdom of the Shades, remain unchanged.

“This gorgeous moment in the ballet really is one of the all-time iconic moments in classical ballet, a scene so visually impacting that it is often performed on its own as an excerpt. It is incredibly demanding physically on the dancers and requires impeccable technique and musicality. I am sure it will be one of the lasting scenes in the audience’s minds as they leave the theatre.”

QB Ballet Master and choreographer, Greg Horsman, said in changing the setting and story of the ballet slightly, he hopes to give it a tighter, more believable narrative that keeps the audience engaged right to the very end.

“In this production I’ve made some character and design changes to bring in the British influence, and I’ve also added in some opportunities for our male dancers to feature.

“I’ve certainly kept the key elements of this ballet that are iconic such as the Kingdom of the Shades and the golden idol dance (sometimes called the bronze idol in other versions).”

This production sees Horsman working once again with long time creative collaborators, Gary Harris, on the sets and costume design, lighting designer Jon Buswell and music director Nigel Gaynor. The last time this team worked together was on Horsman’s The Sleeping Beauty.

Mr Li said audiences would be transported to another era by the lavish sets, costumes, lighting and music that tied together the Indian and British influences of the time beautifully.

“Gary’s designs are always amazing, but this time he really has outdone himself. The joy of creating a ballet like this from scratch means we really can have complete creative control and Greg and his creative team have created a production that QB is so very proud of.

“In addition to the set and costume designs evoking a different time and place, our Music Director and Principal Conductor, Nigel Gaynor, has also re-arranged the original score by Ludwig Minkus to include some traditional Indian instruments.

This is a beautiful, subtle touch that just adds to the magic.

“We can’t wait to share La Bayadere with Brisbane audiences for this season, this has been about four years in the making for Greg and his team and I am looking forward to this production staying in the Queensland Ballet repertoire for many years to come.”

La Bayadere | Queensland Ballet

16 March – 31 March

Playhouse, QPAC

Bookings: queenslandballet.com.au