While WA Ballet is busy in the rehearsal studio for the company’s highly anticipated Swan Lake, artistic director Aurélien Scannella is already anticipating its 2023 season.
The year will not only be another big year for Australia’s oldest professional ballet company, but also for Belgium-born Scannella and his wife, artistic associate and principal rehearsalist Sandy Delasalle-Scannella, who are celebrating their 10th anniversary of being at the WA Ballet barre.
“It went so fast and when we look back it doesn’t feel like 10 years and to be honest if we could do it again we would do it again,” Scannella, who recently received a knighthood from the royal family from Belgium, says.
“We really saw this incredible potential. We had all this support and could feel there was an opportunity for growth there. I’m 47 and it’s been hard work, but it was worth going through.
“I’ve often been asked how I feel about Perth’s isolation, but I think it’s a good thing. I’ve always seen it as an opportunity because we can bring the world to Perth.
WA Ballet’s 2023 schedule includes six production seasons and a four-stop regional tour (Port Hedland, Karratha, Bunbury and Mandurah), all beginning in February with the company’s 30th year at City Beach’s Quarry Amphitheater with IN Cognito: Ballet at the Quarry, featuring four works under the night sky.
Ballet to Broadway arrives at His Majesty’s Theater in May as a new-format classical ballet triple program – Raymonda, Sylvia and George Balanchine’s Who Cares? – while the STATE winter contemporary season returns to WA’s State Theater Center in June and July.
STATE choreographers Melanie Lane and Adam Alzaim have had the chance to re-stage and expand their works, Slow Haunt and Gainsbourg respectively, after STATE’s 2021 season was cut short by a rapid pandemic lockdown.
Genesis, an annual season of short pieces choreographed by the company’s dancers at the WA Ballet Centre, moved in October and after a three-year hiatus, Scannella brings the snow back to Perth with The Nutcracker in November.
Following the success of the company’s bestselling neoclassical ballet, Dracula, Scannella continues her passion for bringing new stories to the ballet scene with Van Gogh, a newly premiered comprehensive contemporary work – a first for the company – based on the life and the heartbreaking works of art by Dutch post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh.
Known for her 2020 work Ballet at the Quarry, Architecture of Hope, Dutch choreographer Wubkje Kuindersma and an Amsterdam-based creative team have been making the biographical ballet since her visit to Perth in 2020.
Scannella thinks the WA Ballet audience is ready for such a work.
“In the past, some productions have not sold as well as expected, but we are here to take risks and challenge our dancers,” he shares.
“In the arts, if you don’t push the limits and take risks, you won’t get ahead. It’s like riding a bike, if you don’t move forward, you don’t stay upright.
Packages for the 2023 season go on sale at 7 p.m., October 13, and general tickets will be released November 1.