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Queensland Ballet’s Bespoke: a high-powered dance experience

Company Artist Libby-Rose Niederer. Photo by David Kelly

Audiences will be immersed in a dynamic and high-powered dance experience as Queensland Ballet (QB) presents Bespoke at QUT Gardens Theatre on October 8-17.

Now in its fourth season, Bespoke has become an annual production highly anticipated by lovers of contemporary dance. With four world premieres by four top choreographers, this year’s Bespoke will challenge dancers and audiences alike as it breaks through traditional barriers to reveal new perspectives on movement and storytelling.

Featuring works from choreographers Natalie Weir, Jack Lister, Paul Boyd and Rani Luther, audiences can exxpect cutting-edge choreography blended with music, design and digital technology to create one immersive and innovative experience.

QB Artistic Director Li Cunxin AO says this season of Bespoke is daring, original and a feast for the senses.

“Each year, we combine bold choreography with high-tech and digital elements to produce works that challenge boundaries for our dancers and audiences alike,” said Mr Li.

“This year, there is an inherent focus on metaphorical and physical journeying, a theme that naturally arose through each choreographer’s unique vision.

“Luther’s From.To.Here. highlights the individual journeys of the people who make up our community, including the emotional and physical passages of refugees. Weir’s Fallen explores the desire to be free from confinement as we witness a man trapped in reality with a mind desperate to escape.

“Boyd’s piece transcends our audiences to the ancient Silk Road. Inspired by an evocative recording by Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Boyd has choreographed tales from the dessert, combining choreography, lighting and costumes to evoke the exotic atmosphere filled with colour, texture and earthiness,” said Mr Li.

“Breaking away from the theme, Lister’s Mind Your Head explores the intersection between dance and pro-wrestling in a thrilling new work. Our audiences will be invigorated by Lister’s electrifying choreography that merges classical ballet, pro-wrestling and old Hollywood films built into a heavily rhythmical and physical language,” Mr Li added.

Highly acclaimed First Nations Choreographer Daniel Riley was also set to bring to life a new work. However, due to the ongoing Victorian lockdown and current Queensland border restrictions, Riley has made the difficult decision to withdraw his work from this season of Bespoke.

Riley said while continuing virtually was one option, it was not one that aligned with his own creative practice and vision.

“Not being able to be in the studio with the incredible dancers I was working with would be hard each day and, in the end, the final result would be half of what it could and should be. I want to be able to collaborate and develop creative relationships with the artists of QB in person, not via digital means. I’d like to extend my deep thanks to the staff and dancers of the QB for being so accommodating and understanding, and I look forward to continuing to dream into what might be possible in the future."

With a creative bridge now built between Daniel and Queensland Ballet, the company hopes to collaborate with him once again in the future when it is logistically possible.

Bespoke will run at QUT Gardens Theatre from October 8-17. To book tickets, visit


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