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This traditional Russian
classical ballet has been
celebrated worldwide for
generations, and it’s no
wonder. With a story that
tugs at the heartstrings,
55 talented dancers, plus
extravagant sets and music,
it’s a clear winner. And the
St Petersburg Ballet crew
does it pretty darn well, too.
His Majesty’s Theatre,
The classic tale of Baby and
Johnny... remember that
watermelon on the bridge, the
lift in the lake, and that steamy
night in the bedroom? Yeah,
we’re pretty happy to relive any
of those scenes, any time. Well
now we’re all going to get the
chance, as the stage version of
Dirty Dancing rolls into town.
Perth Guide chats to Kirby
Burgess about starring as Baby
in the Australian tour, and how
hard it is to nail that lift.
How is the tour going – are
we in for a treat?
It honestly is a great night out! The audience always
feels like they’re part of the story. They hoot and
holler, cry and laugh. Look out for the moment
Johnny says, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner,”
because everyone around you goes wild!
What do you enjoy most about playing Baby?
I love her spirit. She is so eager to learn but quick to
fight for what she believes is right. She is a unique
role to play: Baby is the comic relief, the love interest,
the dramatic role, the damsel in distress and the hero.
Very rarely do you get to be all those in one role. She
was very easy to fall in love with.
How did you manage to nail the infamous lift?
Was there loads of practice for it?
I won’t lie – the lift is hard! The biggest lesson we had
to learn was to relax. The less effort we both put in,
the safer and easier it is, which goes against every
instinct when you are running towards someone you
hope is going to lift you above their head. But we
trust each other, and the pay-off every night is worth
all the blood, sweat and tears.
Have you got any funny little stories from the
rehearsal process you can share with us?
I call the opening of Act 2 ‘Baby’s Walk of Shame’.
Now, our associate director was a very dry-humoured
American man who wasn’t aware of this saying. As
I explained it, embarrassed, he replied in his perfectly
dry manner, “Oh, I don’t have shame as an emotion.”
I have never laughed so hard, and I think of that
moment every opening of Act 2.
Crown Theatre, Aug 5-23.
Be Your Self
What are we? Are we our bodies? Our minds? What is the mind, anyway? These are some of the questions you
may find yourself asking while watching this new piece from The Australian Dance Theatre. Artistic director
Garry Stewart admits the stimulus for the show came from Buddhist meditation sessions he and the dancers got
into at one point, forcing them to “question the nature of the self”. He says the show tackles these questions
philosophically, as well as scientifically – the dancers worked with cadavers (yep, human corpses) in prep for the
show, to learn how emotions are created neurologically. Everyone is sure to take away something different from
the show, says Garry, because our emotions are all so different. “This work – as a dance work – is probably not
going to look or feel anything like what you expect it to,” he explains. “And I think this is a good thing!” What you
can expect, however, is an array of beautifully athletic bodies, dancing to a solid electronic music score... and the
chance to get in touch with your emotional self.
Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, Jun 20; State Theatre Centre, Jun 24-27.
Full details and online bookings at scoop.com.au/dance
CHLOE AND CHRISTI:
SEQUINS AND SECRETS
Dance Moms fans, here’s
a chance to indulge your
inner fantasy. Meet the
former cast favourites
face-to-face, learn all their
juicy secrets, watch Chloe
dance live on stage, or
join her in the workshops.
There’s a whole load of
ticket options available –
get ’em quick.
HBF Stadium, Jul 9.
Woah, ballet just got a little
too hot. Watching these
athletic bodies bump and
grind, among explosive
jumps, twists and pumping
live music, may be enough
to warrant an early order of
heart meds. Coming off
a hugely successful
European tour, these
dancers are ready to bring
Perth some Cuban flavour.
Regal Theatre, Jul 21-31.
It’s 1878, in the German
settlement of Hahndorf,
South Australia, and two
lovers – an eccentric doctor
and a life-like doll – are
creating mayhem. The WA
and Queensland ballets
bring you this romantic
classic, refreshed by Greg
Horsman and set to the
music of Leo Delibes.
His Majesty’s Theatre,
Sept 11-26 .
CUT THE SKY
Whether you see it as a contemporary dance show,
or social activism through movement, Cut the Sky
is one of the most powerful dance works to come
to Perth in a while. Aboriginal dreaming stories,
entwined with bursts of dance and soulful singing,
explore climate change and exploitation of our
natural land, through the eyes of those who know
it the best. The grand finale will leave you struggling
to pick your jaw off the ground... and to view our
culture the same way again. Do yourself a favour and
do not miss this one.
Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, Aug 7-8 .
The touring show of Dirty
Dancing. BELOW RIGHT
Kirby Burgess with co-star
Kurt Phelan (photography
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