Dec 14, 2012
The Australian Ballet Enchants qualia
Watching The Australian Ballet is a treat in any location. Watching the “pas de deux in paradise” on the beach at qualia as the sun sets over the Whitsundays is quite spectacular. I was lucky enough to see The Australian Ballet in 2011 at qualia, and was blown away then. This year, the company’s 50th anniversary and their 5th year at qualia, stepped up yet another level. The weekend started with the welcome dinner on Friday night at qualia at the award winning Long Pavilion restaurant. Compered by Catriona Rowntree (motto: no question is too silly) this evening was a lot of fun and culminated with a Q&A session with the dancers. The dinner itself was gorgeous and I was fortunate to be sitting next to Artistic Director David McAllister, who delighted us with stories from behind the scenes.
Saturday starts with a barre session in the morning, where the dancers go through their warm-up exercises in front of an audience of keen ballet followers. The evening’s black-tie performance took place at Pebble Beach. Diana Rouvas, last seen on The Voice, provided entertainment with her beautiful voice accompanied by acoustic guitar. In a funny move most of the audience chose to grab the best seats in the house instead of enjoy the champagne around the pool. I guess they had their priorities firmly in mind. Catriona and David introduced the pieces and spoke of the complications of dancing outside, hoping all the while that the breeze would die down – who would’ve thought their balance en point was so fine? Finally the performance started. Rudy Hawkes and Lana Jones performed the pas de deux from Giselle, and Adam Bull (in his second year running) and Amber Scott performed a piece from Manon. Hawkes and Jones performed my favourite piece of the night from After The Rain ©. It was absolutely stunning and reduced me to tears. The finale was Swan Lake, danced by Bull and Scott, which was, as always, very well received.
The evening finished with dinner in the Long Pavilion at tables with stunning centerpieces created from antique ballet books and slippers, and silver charms to take home. It was an absolutely delightful weekend, and I now know why you have to get in so very quickly to get tickets!