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Lee Christofis

Lee Christofis
Lee Christofis is a Melbourne-based writer on dance and associated arts. From 2006 to 2013 he was Curator of Dance at the National Library of Australia.

Lee Christofis reviews 'Cranko: The man and his choreography' by Ashley Killar

April 2023, no. 452 27 March 2023
Reading Ashley Killar’s compelling biography, Cranko: The man and his choreography, feels like studying the modernisation of ballet in three countries, the way ballet eats up lives as often as it forms families of peers and lovers, and the unending devotion required for creativity to flourish. It is pleasing to learn how a determined man with an ever-rattling mind, backed by a calm, philosophica ... (read more)

'Don Quixote: A safe celebration of Nureyev' by Lee Christofis

ABR Arts 17 March 2023
The opening night of The Australian Ballet’s 2023 season, commencing with Rudolf Nureyev’s unforgettable Don Quixote, was like a joyous homecoming to all sectors of the audience, from rusted-on subscribers to some of Australia’s most gifted ballerinas, and a host of people who quickly absorbed the vitality of Marius Petipa’s 1872 ballet, which Nureyev loved. This new production, with a 192 ... (read more)

Lee Christofis reviews 'Robert Helpmann: A rare sense of the theatre' by Kathrine Sorley Walker

March 2010, no. 319 01 March 2010
Last year marked the centenary of Robert Helpmann’s birth. Apart from a tribute at the Helpmann Awards ceremony – the ‘Bobbies’ – in July 2009, no Australian performing arts company celebrated the anniversary of this polymorphous artist and early advocate for a national artistic life created by Australians, not by northern-hemisphere exporters. Two new books and a vibrant touring exhibit ... (read more)

Two Feet (Adelaide Festival)

ABR Arts 04 March 2019
This year’s Adelaide Festival opening night was one for standing ovations, and the revival of Meryl Tankard’s Two Feet, danced by internationally acclaimed Russian ballerina Natalia Osipova, certainly earned one. Commissioned for World Expo 88 by former festival director Anthony Steel, Two Feet launched the festival’s dance element in great style. Two Feet, one of Tankard’s most personal d ... (read more)

Giselle (Teatro alla Scala Ballet Company)

ABR Arts 20 November 2018
What a luxury it is to have seen the ballet company of La Scala, Milan, on its first visit to Australia. An ensemble of sixty-six dancers, it has become, under the artistic direction of Frédéric Olivieri, a prized instrument of Italian culture. Established in 1788, it engaged with a new wave of contemporary choreographers and styles in the 1960s. Today, it tours globally with a repertoire drawn ... (read more)

Spartacus (The Australian Ballet)

ABR Arts 20 September 2018
An impassioned ovation greeted the exceptional, all-giving dancers of The Australian Ballet and musicians of Orchestra Victoria at the packed première of the company’s new production of Spartacus. The familiarity of the story of oppressed slaves and gladiators fighting the Roman Republic for freedom during the Third Servile War (73–71 BCE) – popularised by Howard Fast’s 1951 novel and Sta ... (read more)

Le Dernier Appel (Marrugeku Dance Theatre)

ABR Arts 17 August 2018
Repetitive cycles of alienation, frustration, sorrow, and humiliation in the face of political injustice over decades find powerful expression in Le Dernier Appel (The Last Cry), the latest interrogation by Marrugeku Dance Theatre of the deleterious effects of colonisation on the indigenous peoples of Australia and her neighbours. Commissioned by Carriageworks (Sydney), the Centre Culturel Tjibaou ... (read more)

La Bayadère (Queensland Ballet)

ABR Arts 09 April 2018
Marius Petipa’s ballet La Bayadère (The Temple Dancer), written in 1877, could be seen as the grandparent of Bollywood musicals. It has all the ingredients: Solor, a prince who loves Nikiya, a low-caste temple dancer; a conniving Brahmin high priest who lusts after her; Solor’s father, who has promised him to another man’s daughter, Gamzatti; a treacherous maid who kills Nikiya by way of a ... (read more)

Xenos (Adelaide Festival)

ABR Arts 27 March 2018
Last year, Akram Khan, England’s leading Asian dancer–choreographer, stunned the dance world community when he announced he would stop performing in 2018 and that his last show would be Xenos, meaning ‘foreigner’ or ‘stranger’. It premièred at the Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, on 21 February, and reached Australia for the closing days of the Adelaide Festival. Khan’s imminent de ... (read more)

Murphy (The Australian Ballet)

ABR Arts 19 March 2018
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Graeme Murphy’s career as a dancer and choreographer, which began at The Australian Ballet in 1968. He has often returned to create new ballets on the company – during his thirty-one years as artistic director of Sydney Dance Company from 1976 to 2006, and more recently. His lasting successes at The Australian Ballet comprise Nutcracker – Clara’s ... (read more)
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