An entire dance program honouring the work of a single person is a rare honour. The Australian Ballet has graciously extended such an honour to Graeme Murphy; the program, simply titled Murphy, opens this week in Melbourne (16-26 March), then Sydney (6-23 April). Graeme was born in Melbourne (1950) but raised in Launceston. He was a child of the Australian Ballet: receiving his first ballet lessons in Launceston, he was accepted into the Australian Ballet School at the age of fourteen and joined corps of the company in 1968. This year marks the 50th anniversary of his association with the company.
He choreographed ballets early on; after dancing and studying in Europe, he returned in 1975 as a freelance choreographer and the following year was appointed Director of the Dance Company of NSW, changing its name to Sydney Dance Company in 1979. Murphy’s charismatic personality and his inventive, commercial approach to programming made the SDC the country’s leading contemporary dance company and its most fashionable.
After three decades he left the company in 2007 to freelance. He is a successful director of opera productions; Turandot and The Merry Widow among them. Murphy will include his vivid Firebird, alongside excerpts from The Silver Rose, Shéhérazade, Air and Other Invisible Forces, Grand and Ellipse. Graeme reconnected with Launceston, buying a rural property some time ago. He and his artistic associate, Janet Vernon were married there.
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