Mao’s Last Dancer: The exhibition

15 August 2018

Dancer Li Cunxin is famously known as Mao’s Last Dancer after his best-selling biography. This winter Melbourne’s Immigration Museum hosts an exhibition on the man and his career (so far!).

The Simonet Experiment

It began as an experiment. The idea was to create activity sheets for dance students that would bring ballet’s history to life. Adelaide Simonet stepped up to be the prototype, and here she is, FREE to download and ready for feedback!

Court to Kitsch – a real original!

18 March 2017

It’s elegant, informative and full of little surprises – From Court to Kitsch opened yesterday, on a perfect Autumn day that saw our bright magenta flags out front fluttering merrily in the breeze.

Festival Interview for ‘Court to Kitsch’

As the Castlemaine State Festival prepares to get underway, it was lovely to find my little interview for ‘Court to Kitsch’ getting a run among the news items. Here it is …

Four Ballerinas and a Tea Tray

Next month’s exhibition From Court to Kitsch features an illustration of Perrot’s celebrated Pas de Quatre, the all-stars romantic ballet that dazzled Londoners in 1845. So it’s a timely moment to revisit my blog for The Australian Ballet, and wipe the dust off THAT tea tray!

And who is Carlotta?

She created a world of dainty ballerinas, posed in perpetual arabesques in misty scenes from the ballet classics. Think Les Sylphides in your hallway, Swan Lake in the master bedroom. Welcome to the world of Carlotta Edwards, the woman who turned art into ballet kitsch and kitsch into ballet art…

Places to Go, Objects to See

From boutique museums to national archives, ballet’s treasures are in all sorts of places. Here are some of the best-known venues that regularly showcase their dance collections.

Ballet in Britain’s Music Halls, 1850-1910

Bold and brassy, ravishing and raunchy. Welcome to the world of the music hall ballet! This post introduces the era of grand ballet spectaculars and an important, often neglected, period in ballet’s colourful history.

Edouard Espinosa and the world of early British ballet

Looking for a ballet school with boarding facilities? In war-exhausted Britain, you wouldn’t pass up one with daily hot baths and private sleeping cubicles! Meet man who trained Ninette de Valois and founded the British Ballet Organisation…

Narcisse: Dance, design and a dodgy daffodil

Best remembered for Leon Bakst’s sensuous designs, Narcisse brought together three icons of the Ballets Russes in an evocative tale of tragedy and metamorphosis …

Gartering Applause: Vestrimania in London, 1780-81

Vestris garters, anyone? What about a length of Vestris blue ribbon? Hey, is that a “Vestris grin” you’re giving me?! In the early winter of 1780, ‘Vestris’ became the buzz word of fashionable London. Discover the story behind some very whacky merchandise and explore Auguste Vestris’ influence on ballet in Britain …