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An inspired creative collaboration – Melbourne illustrator Eirian Chapman has created a series of illustrations to celebrate The Australian Ballet’s latest double bill, Imperial Suite, a show which combines two classical ballets and brings together New York style and Parisian chic.

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French / Ukrainian choreographer Serge Lifar and American choreographer George Balanchine, illustrated by Melbourne illustrator Eirian Chapman for The Australian Ballet’s latest double bill, Imperial Suite.

If you’ve been reading TDF for a few years now you might recall our affection for The Australian Ballet.  Though of course they perform nationally all year round, for me, wintertime is always the time of year I love to try and catch one of their shows in Melbourne if I can – there’s something so special about rugging up in your wintery finest and making a trip into town after dark to catch a performance at the Arts Centre, with the city lights twinkling beyond the spire.

Aside from their on stage prowess, one thing I’m consistently impressed with is the Australian Ballet blog, ‘Behind Ballet’ which offers up the most brilliant and inspired edit of high quality content, behind the scenes videos and a steady stream of other creative collaborations.  There are still so few Australian arts / cultural institutions offering this depth of (free!) content via blog / social media – The Australian Ballet team definitely get a big gold star from us on that front!

Up next on the Ballet calendar is Imperial Suite – a double bill of two classical ballets (that means tutus!), pairing American choreographer George Balanchine’s Ballet Imperial, with French / Ukrainian Serge Lifar’s Suite en blanc.  Flavoured with both New York style and Parisian chic, this show, which opens in Melbourne next month, has inspired a special collaboration with Melbourne illustrator Eirian Chapman.

‘Inspired by our Imperial Suite program, and the tales of these two great cities, Paris vs New York blog, we commissioned Eirian Chapman of The Jacky Winter Group to create a series of four illustrations featuring ballet-themed icons from both cities’ says Kate Scott, Senior Marketing Manager of The Australian Ballet. ‘Collaboration between art forms has animated ballet from the very beginning, and we wanted to work with a quintessentially Melbourne illustrator as we return to Melbourne for our Winter Season’ Kate explains.  Created purely for editorial value and not for use as ‘advertising’ per se, the Ballet will feature Eirian’s resulting artworks on their blog and via their various social media platforms over the coming weeks to celebrate the commencement of their Winter Season.

In her signature bold, graphic style, Eirian’s illustration series depicts stylised dancing ballerinas, choreographers Serge Lifar and George Balanchine, Sylvie Guillem (perhaps the most famous French ballerina of all time) and Gelsey Kirkland (famous/notorious American ballerina of the 1970’s and 80s), and two iconic ballet theatres – the Palais Garnier in Paris and the Lincoln Center in New York.

Great to see another fab interdisciplinary collab from the clever team at The Australian Ballet! Do keep an eye on Behind Ballet for more inspired creative cross pollination throughout the year.

Imperial Suite will run in Melbourne from 20th – 28th June.

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Sylvie Guillem (perhaps the most famous French ballerina of all time) and Gelsey Kirkland (famous/notorious American ballerina of the 1970’s and 80s), illustrated by Melbourne illustrator Eirian Chapman for The Australian Ballet.

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 Two iconic ballet theatres – the Palais Garnier in Paris and the Lincoln Center in New York., illustrated by Melbourne illustrator Eirian Chapman for The Australian Ballet.