The ambitious new ballet features the entire company, including its artistic director.
The term kunstkamer translates from Dutch as “art room” or “art cabinet” and is inspired by The Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, a four-volume tome from 1734 by the Dutch pharmacist, zoologist and collector Albertus Seba. The idea of combining disparate elements to convey a new, bigger whole is inherent in the concept.
This is also the theme behind Kunstkamer a new show from the Australian Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater. A contemporary ballet in two acts comprising multiple short movements that see recurring motifs and characters, Kunstkamer aims to question the possibilities of dance” while involving the entire company of dancers.
The show is facilitated by the presence of live musicians and instruments – including an old upright piano placed on stage alongside the dancers – performing music by Beethoven, Janis Joplin, Schubert, Arvo Pärt, Joby Talbot and Ólafur Arnalds, among others.
The action takes place in a vast space surrounded by grand facades in the neoclassical style, with dancers entering and exiting through various doors on two levels. Elements of songs, movies, and spoken word add further textures to the events unfolding in the mysterious room.
Kunstkamer by the Australian Ballet is the ambitious joint creation of four choreographers: Paul Lightfoot, Sol León, Marco Goecke and Crystal Pite.
Australian Ballet Artistic Director David Hallberg will also join the company on stage for select performances, including opening night.
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