Stage

Lin-Manuel Miranda musical In the Heights moves from the Bronx to Opera House

In January, the stage of the Sydney Opera House's Concert Hall will be transformed into a Latino barrio, complete with salsa dancing and a cast speaking a mix of English and Spanish. It's a big leap for the musical In the Heights, which had a run earlier this year at the tiny, 111-seat Hayes Theatre in Potts Point. But that season was a sell-out, and In the Heights has an excellent pedigree: it was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who was also behind the hip-hop musical phenomenon Hamilton and wrote the songs for the Disney film Moana. It's no wonder theatre companies are jumping at the chance to stage his shows. It seems like everything Miranda touches turns to gold – what could go wrong?

A Winged Victory for the Sullen find reason to move in the stillness

Atomos, the second instrumental album from post-classical duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen, has a pervasive stillness that would seem to be at odds with dance. But the Royal Ballet's resident choreographer, Wayne McGregor, has a habit of finding movement in unlikely places. After seeing how his dancers responded to their first album during practice sessions, he asked the duo to write the score for a new work for his company Random Dance.

Revealing the truth

It took only four weeks to create but, almost two decades later, Jiri Kylian's beautiful ballet Bella Figura still has the ability to unsettle dancers and audiences. One simple decision - to dress male and female dancers in the same voluminous red silk skirts and nothing more - is still seen by some as a startling, daring move. In 2002, Justine Summers, who abandoned her role in Bella Figura, said in the documentary Inside the Australian Ballet, "I don't want to be remembered for the tits. I want to be remembered as a dancer."

Pride of the nation

In 1955, Katharine Hepburn became obsessed with lyrebirds. Connecticut is a long way from the Dandenongs, but an Old Vic tour of Shakespeare's plays with her friend Robert Helpmann gave the actress an opportunity to fulfil a dream. This, in turn, led to the birth of one of Australia's greatest homegrown ballets, The Display. ''She had read a little book called The Lure of the Lyrebird,'' Helpmann told Fairfax in 1964. ''And she was determined to see them."

Break free

The stripper was the final straw for flamenco dancer Jessica Statham and guitarist Damian Wright. Yes, he was dressed as Zorro, which befitted a Spanish nightclub in Sydney's Latin quarter, but the duo decided they'd had enough of the hens' parties and it was time to leave. Statham headed for Spain, where she would spend the next five studying dance. Wright spent much of the time travelling back and forth between Australia and the Iberian peninsula, learning to play and compose in the flamenco tradition. When Statham returned, the pair began experimenting with music and dance based on flamenco traditions but with modern influences.
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