Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Legs Eleven

Sarah Murdoch fronts Vogue Australia's August edition, marking her eleventh cover for the fashion stalwart. She is streets ahead of other regular Aussie Vogue covergirls, with Abbey Lee at 6, and Gemma Ward miles behind with 6 and 5 covers respectively. Sarah was apparently reluctant to appear on the cover, and was only tempted to do so on the basis that she had something to celebrate or important to share with readers.

Murdoch has recently been appointed deputy chairperson of the Australian Ballet, after having served on its Board since 2006. The Australian Ballet is currently running its "Out There" program, designed to take ballet to disadvantaged schools as well as teaching more general principles about the value of movement (and dance is one of the best ways to move, am I right?). 

The world of ballet - with its classical music, well-established story lines and emphasis on strict and perfect discipline - can be easily misinterpreted as impenetrable and of interest only to the most ardent of culture vultures (alternatively it could be viewed as being snooty and boring which at times is perfectly accurate). Attempting to turn that view on its head, Sarah states that "I never want to feel this company is untouchable to every single Australian."

In recent years, the Australian Ballet has taken great strides forward in making ballet more accessible to the general public - guest choreographers such as Graham Murphy playing with old classics (my all-time favourite choreographer and who created the most stunning interpretation of Swan Lake I have ever seen, although admittedly his take on Romeo & Juliet was entirely unstimulating), more of an emphasis on contemporary ballets as well as their "Behind Ballet" program which consists of emailed newsletters and short videos, and their recent collaboration with US and French ballet companies. 

Combining this accessibility with a proactive attempt to engage disadvantaged schools is truly admirable. For many kids, dancing is a beautiful way of escaping for a few hours. Ballet adds another dimension to this: it instils discipline, you learn another language (everything is in French), you learn to listen to and appreciate classical music, you are part of a team and you become physically strong. As I mentioned in a previous post, while I've been unable to do adult ballet classes due to the transient nature of my life at the moment, I do manage to get to a Barre class once per week. Although the classical music and French language elements aren't there, the discipline and the hard work bits are in equal measure - and the results speak for themselves. Defined arms and a happier lady now that I can still squeeze in some exercise that actually interests me (my attention span is dreadfully limited). 

So if you haven't tried out Barre yet, I still urge you to do it. But if all else fails, just head to the ballet. 

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