Posts tagged Ballet Russes
The colour of nostalgia

Recently landed: The colour of nostalgia, a new article on Marginalia (by Gracia) takes you to Graeme Murphy's Nutcracker — The Story of Clara

The Australian Ballet's Kevin Jackson and Leanne Stojmenov in Graeme Murphy's Nutcracker — The Story of Clara (image credit: Jeff Busby)

An Australian Nutcracker

Recently landed: An Australian Nutcracker, Gracia's written response to Graeme Murphy’s Nutcracker — The Story of Clara, for Fjord Review

Murphy’s Nutcracker loops freely from summertime in late 1950s Australia back to snow-cloaked Imperial Russia before launching towards the 1917 Russian Revolution, in the way that memory does, and the musical score, in turn, can be read. Clara’s memory maps her life as a star of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes before touring with Colonel de Basil to the homelands of previous divertissements: Spain, Egypt, China, and, naturally, the addition of Melbourne. Clara’s final performance is also the birth of a company, the newly formed Borovansky Ballet. To sweep such rich terrain in an evening, Clara’s story is told through three different performers, from Child Clara (Jessica Stratton-Smith) to Young Clara, performed by Leanne Stojmenov (on opening night) and Dimity Azoury (on Tuesday night), and Ai-Gul Gaisina and Chrissa Keramidas (on opening and Tuesday nights respectively) as Clara the Elder. Stojmenov not only taps into but epitomises fluid-shifting remembrance and loss, and ultimately resilience with such tactile conviction, rendering her spine elastic yet unbreakable in every intimate lift with Kevin Jackson as her Soldier/Lover. Great love never dims, it merely changes shape, and their connection and faith in each other feels all the deeper for beginning at the end.

From Hills Hoist to the Argus newspaper calls, the Australian gumtree angle works because it is presented as a truth. It is not (self-) consciously laid on thick; it is merely there. A mirror. This is us. A part of our dance history. These are scenes we recognise. Clara the Elder’s apartment is one we’ve all sat in, either in real life, or in a story where perhaps we wished we had a relative who had spent their formative years on the stage. As Clara the Elder, both Gaisina and Keramidas appeared to shine from inside out. To paraphrase Murphy, just as you hear Tchaikovsky poured his heart into the score, the same can be said of the light-footed recollections of Gaisina and Keramidas as Ballet Russes émigrés. Where past is in contrast to present, and Russian society is shown in contrast to a life of exile in Australia, the time spent in Act I with Clara and her émigré friends (Frank Leo, Colin Peasley OAM, Terese Power et al.) is what enables Nutcracker to hit you in the guts when the curtain closes. The body as it gets older cannot do what it might earlier have done with ease. This is the cruelty of age. And this is strength, beauty, and the importance of connections forged with others. If ever there was a call to follow your dreams, this celebration of a lived experience being that which makes us richer is it. It is precisely the amount of time spent in her apartment that is why, I believe, we feel a lump in our throat or a tear on our cheek when Clara dies. We cannot know what has been lost without knowing what is. Nostalgia colours the past, but it also informs the present and alters the future. "Time does not help us make sense of our otherwise jumbled lives; our jumbled lives help us make sense of time."

The Australian Ballet's Jarryd Madden and Leanne Stojmenov in Graeme Murphy's Nutcracker — The Story of Clara (image credit: Jeff Busby)

Good news

We are delighted that our artists' book, Closer to Natural, currently being exhibited as part of the 2016 Libris Awards, has been acquired by Artspace Mackay. The exhibition runs until the 16th of October, 2016.

Artspace Mackay
Civic Centre Precinct, Gordon Street, Mackay, Queensland

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, Closer to Natural, artists' book, 2016

2016 Libris Awards: Australian Artists Book Prize

Good news! We're thrilled that our artists' book, Closer to Natural (2016), has been selected to be part of the 2016 Libris Awards: Australian Artists Book Prize, at Artspace Mackay. The exhibition will run from the 27th of August through until the 16th of October, 2016.

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, Closer to Natural, artists' book, 2016

Art of the Cuff

Opening on Tuesday the 15th of September, an exhibition of modified French cuffs, including our unique state artists' book, Beneath my suit, I am..., at Lord Coconut.

Art of the Cuff
As part of Melbourne Fringe Festival, 2015
Wednesday 16th of September – Saturday 3rd of October
Lord Coconut
Level 4 Carlow House
289 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, Beneath my suit, I am..., 2015, artists' book

Satin, paint, and tinsel, at Geelong Gallery

Recently landed: Satin, paint, and tinsel, a new post on High Up in the Trees (by Gracia)

A Deck of Salvaged Relatives, our artists' book currently on display as part of the 2015 Geelong acquisitive print awards

2015 Geelong acquisitive print awards shortlist announced

Our artists' book, A Deck of Salvaged Relatives, is one of forty-two works shortlisted for the 2015 Geelong acquisitive print awards.

"Geelong Gallery is delighted to announce that 42 works by 44 leading and emerging Australian artists have been shortlisted for the 2015 Geelong acquisitive print awards.

Showcasing the best of contemporary Australian printmaking practice, the acquisitive awards and biennial exhibition will feature works by Rosalind Atkins, Susan Baran, Alexis Beckett, Deidre Brollo, Peter Burgess, Jon Campbell, Sophie Cape, Julie Davies & Alex Rizkalla, Mark Dustin, Lesley Duxbury, David Frazer, Mini Graff, Rona Green, Andrew Gunnell, Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, Robert Hague, Katherine Hattam, Peter Hill, Anita Iacovella, Locust Jones, William Kelly, Martin King, Timothy Maguire, Marion Manifold, Nonggirrnga Marawili, Daniel Moynihan, Graeme Peebles, Stieg Persson, Ben Rak, Martin Rek, Geoffrey Ricardo, Brian Robinson, John Ryrie, Olga Sankey, Ken Smith, Colin Vickery, Wayne Viney, Judy Watson, Peter Ward, Darren Wardle, Stephen Wickham and Joel Wolter. 

The exhibition of selected prints will be held at the Geelong Gallery from 22 August to 22 November 2015, from which acquisitions totalling $9,500 will be made including: — the 'Geelong acquisitive print award' of $5,000 — the 'Ursula Hoff Institute award' of $1,500 — additional acquisitions up to $3,000.

The prize-winning prints and additional acquisitions will be announced at the official opening of the exhibition on Friday 21 August (by invitation)."

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, A Deck of Salvaged Relatives, 2015, artists'book

In borrowed costumes

Recently landed: In borrowed costumes, a new post on Elsewhere (by Louise)

Gracia Haby, In the borrowed costume for a lady from Carnival, designed by Léon Bakst, c 1920, with a Little penguin (Eudyptula minor) and a Angwantibo (Arctocebus calabarensis), 2015, collage on carte de visite

Final preparations
Wednesday's Salvaged Sextet

Recently landed: Wednesday's Salvaged Sextet, a new post on High Up in the Trees (by Gracia)

Gracia Haby, In the borrowed costume for Vaslav Nijinsky as the Prince from the pas de deux L’Oiseau et la Prince, after Léon Bakst, 1914, with a Northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans), 2015, collage on carte de visite

Play one's ace

Recently landed: Play one's ace, a new post on High Up in the Trees (by Gracia)

Gracia Haby, In the borrowed costume for a female worker from Step of steel, designed by Georgy Yakulov, c 1927, with a Brown mouse lemur (Microcebus rufus) and a Horsfield's tarsier (Cephalopachus bancanus), 2015, collage on carte de visite

Salvaged Relatives, reviewed

Recently landed: Salvaged Relatives, reviewed, a new post on High Up in the Trees (by Gracia), with a written piece by Alice Cannon for the Centre for Fine Print Research's Book Arts Newsletter

Gracia Haby, In the borrowed costume for Shah Zeman from Schéhérazade, 1910–30s, with a Swallow-tanagier (Tersina viridis), 2015, collage on cabinet card