Sydney Dance Company Stage Manager Simon Turner is working with The Australian Ballet in February as their Guest Repetiteur for Murphy, a special anniversary tribute event to celebrate Graeme Murphy’s 50 years with The Australian Ballet. We had a chat with Simon to find out what drew him to work with the Ballet on this exciting project.
Your regular job is as Stage Manager at Sydney Dance Company, why are you heading to Melbourne to work with The Australian Ballet?
During the process of collating information, costumes and sets to loan to the Australian Ballet for the Murphy season Graeme Murphy and Janet Vernon asked if I would be able to assist them in remounting works that had been created on me during my career as a dancer for Sydney Dance Company when Graeme was Artistic Director. I jumped at the chance to be part of this historic celebration and have the opportunity to teach past repertoire to a new generation of dancers.
Can you tell us what a Repetiteur does, what does a typical day look like?
My morning consists of walking to the Ballet Centre and then watching and learning material on my laptop that I will teach during the day over a long black coffee in the canteen. Rehearsals are broken up into 3 sessions for the day and commence at 12:15pm and conclude at 6:30pm. During each session we focus on specific sections that the Company needs to learn. Once all the material is taught it’s then a case of cleaning the material and running the sections so the dancers can build up their stamina.
What are you looking forward to the most about being in Melbourne and returning to choreography you know so well?
Recreating works on a new generation of dancers and bringing back to life works that have only remained in the memory since they were last performed, and sharing them with brand new audiences.
Do you have a favourite Graham Murphy piece?
Having worked with Graeme for 15 years it is hard to pinpoint any one piece as a favourite. I was lucky enough over those years to have many wonderful works created on me. Out of the pieces I will be teaching the Beethoven pas de deux from Grand, which brings back fond memories of performing this with Alexia Heckman and falling in love night after night.
What’s your most memorable moment from when you were a dancer with Sydney Dance Company?
Too many to recount here, if I had to choose one I still remember the first time I performed with the Company, it was on the Opera Theatre stage (now the Dame Nellie Melba stage) at the Sydney Opera House. I was 20 and it was terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time!
For more information, visit The Australian Ballet’s website.