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Le Sacré - NICA's Collaboration With The Australian Ballet School

BY PBP | 24-May-2018
The National Institute of Circus Arts and The Australian Ballet School present Le Sacré - a circus and ballet ensemble collaboration.
In the first collaboration of its kind in Australian performance history, the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) and The Australian Ballet School (the ABS) present an electrifying innovative work combining ballet and circus, Le Sacré. The production is the premiere collaboration between the two organisations.

Featuring 18 second year circus performers from NICA and 26 level seven ballet students from The Australian Ballet School, Le Sacré is an account of dynamism, risk, supreme athleticism and sublime technical physicality. This is a tale of superstition and sacrifice, inspired by the narrative of Nijinsky and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (1913).

The performance integrates contemporary choreographic explorations using balletic and diverse dance language with a myriad of circus acts including skipping ropes, Chinese pole, roué Cyr, tissu, hula hoops, group acrobatics and tightwire. Bringing together these two art forms are NICA’s Movement and Performance Coordinators, Zebastian Hunter and Meredith Kitchen with the ABS’ Artistic Teacher and Resident Choreographer, Simon Dow.

“Le Sacré draws inspiration from an old dramatic tale reimagined in contemporary glory with references from modern life drawn from electronic dance culture, fashion parades, beauty pageants and talent shows.” said Co-Director Zebastian Hunter.

The focus of this collaboration is giving these young artists exposure to new ways of imagining their various artistic disciplines. Le Sacré reflects the brave concept of combining two art forms in ways never before explored.

“We dare to tread in great footsteps by doing what we must, exploring what is possible, impossible, risk taking within our individual disciplines and placing perceived boundaries further and further away,” said Co-Director and The Australian Ballet School’s Artistic Teacher and Resident Choreographer, Simon Dow.

The cast range in age from 16 to 28, including 24 year old rope and handstand circus performer Easa Min-Swe, whose skills come from a background in capoeira and kung fu, to Japanese born dancer Karina Arimura, whose immersion in ballet hails right back to birth when she was named after Karena Broch of American Ballet Theatre. Also included are 19 year old Georgia Webb, who cast off expectations to join the military in favour of studying circus and 17 year old Joaquin Thomas-Mourad (a passionate dancer with an impressive resume of previous dance schools before alighting at the ABS) who in his spare time enjoys dabbling in photography.

Hunter, a performance teacher and show director at NICA was a featured soloist with Cirque Du Soleil from 2009 – 2015. With a Master's in Directing from NIDA he has worked as an independent director creating site specific shows, commercial works and new contemporary devised performances in circus.

Kitchen a distinguished dancer and choreographer has worked with Australian Dance Theatre, Dancenorth, Chrissie Parrot Dance Collective, The One Extra Company and legendary Parisian company Compagnie Philippe Genty and is currently NICA’s Movement Studies Coordinator. Together they look forward to presenting NICA’s biggest second year ensemble performance to date.

Dow has created over 50 original works internationally, with career credits including: Principal Dancer with The Australian Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Boston Ballet companies; dancer with Stuttgart Balle; Artistic Director of the Milwaukee Ballet, West Australian Ballet and Associate Artistic Director with The Washington Ballet. He has danced all the major classical roles and leading roles in many of the great contemporary choreographers’ works and is a well-known Master Teacher internationally.

NICA is Australia’s Centre of Excellence for training in contemporary circus arts, offering Australia’s only Bachelor of Circus Arts. Graduates of NICA have gone on to pursue exciting careers locally and internationally, including work with Cirque du Soleil, Circa, Circus Oz and more.

The Australian Ballet School is Australia’s national centre for elite vocational classical dance and the school of The Australian Ballet. The School’s eight level program aims to produce graduates of the highest calibre who are capable of integrating effortlessly into The Australian Ballet and top professional dance companies in Australia and around the world. The Australian Ballet School aims to develop well-balanced human beings, with a strong ethical sense, who are well fed in body, mind and spirit.