The Australian Ballet has been commissioned to create a major new work for the Centenary of Canberra.
Creative director Robyn Archer said the new work would be based on the ‘democratic architecture’ of Australia’s Parliament House, as the iconic building celebrates its 25th anniversary next year.
Archer said that in many ways, the development of Parliament House mimics the development of Canberra itself “In 1978 the decision was made to proceed with a new building for the Australian Federal Parliament in Canberra. Yet again, an international competition was launched, and yet again an American team won,’’ she said.
In April 1911, the Australian government held an international competition to produce a design for its new capital city. American architect Walter Burley Griffin produced the winning design with impressive renderings of the plan produced by his wife Marion Mahony Griffin.
Griffin said at the time, "I have planned a city that is not like any other in the world. I have planned it not in a way that I expected any government authorities in the world would accept. I have planned an ideal city - a city that meets my ideal of the city of the future.".
For the new parliament house it was Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp Architects lead by Aldo Giurgola AO that won with a design that followed the Griffins’ principle of setting the building into the landscape.
The ballet has been developed through consultation with architect Aldo Giurgola, and two other members of his team who also remained in Canberra, the architects Pamille Berg and Hal Guida. The new work will reflect design principles and aesthetics as well as the desires of the nation for this building to be a new symbol of Australian democracy.
For each of the three members of the creative team of choreographer, designer and composer, this is their first work with the Australian Ballet. This new ballet continues the tradition of innovation and opportunity that Canberra has maintained from the very start.
The performance will be preceded by a classical masterpiece, a study which pays tribute to the foundation of this art form. Audiences will have the opportunity to see how a contemporary choreographer makes use of those skills for a new work for the 21st century.
Founded in 1962, The Australian Ballet , which will be performing for free in Canberra this Friday as part of a national tour for their 50th birthday, is one of the country’s flagship arts companies, and for five decades has been the defining face of ballet in Australia.
Full details will be announced and bookings will be open in September 2012.