Wild Swans: Behind the Scenes
26 min documentary, produced, directed and filmed by Philippe Charluet for ABC-TV (Australia)
Over a few months, we follow acclaimed choreographer Meryl Tankard and composer Elena Kats-Chernin, together with artists of The Australian Ballet creating this brand new ballet and composition based on Hans Christian Andersen’s 1838 fairy-tale ‘The Wild Swans’.
We are privy to an intense and dramatic journey where beauty, technique and joy mix with pain, sweat and tears almost on a daily basis. Meryl candidly allows us to be part of her creative process, a process where her improvisation techniques need to adapt to the disciplined world of The Australian Ballet, and where, despite the pressure of time, WILD SWANS comes together almost magically at its Sydney Opera House’s premiere.
Extra sequences were also filmed and included within the 26 min ABC TV documentary WORRIES ON A STRING, an intimate portrait of composer Elena Kats-Chernin as she juggles sole parenthood and full time composing.
“Seeing these two incredible women, Meryl and Elena, together with visual artist Regis Lansac, collaborating with such vision, talent and intensity, truly inspired me in capturing the creative spirit of Wild Swans.” Philippe Charluet, director.
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Excerpts from Possessed
Michelle’s Story – Opening sequence with much of our Dance Footage
Precious dance performance footage, filmed by Philippe Charluet throughout the 1980′s/90′s, features in this half-hour documentary produced by Kate Croser and directed by Meryl Tankard.
SYNOPSIS: At the peak of her career, Michelle Ryan was one of Australia’s leading artists, dancing under famous choreographer Meryl Tankard at the Australian Dance Theatre. From there she toured the world until her dancing came to an abrupt end after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Betrayed by her body she loses her career, mobility and marriage. Despite her damaged confidence and disability, she is drawn back to dance, becoming an inspirational artistic director at the Restless Dance Theatre, an Adelaide-based company working with young disabled people.
For the Australian Ballet
Concept & Choreography
Permission of Boosey & Hawkes Pty Ltd
Visual Design (Illuminations)
Assistant to Ms Tankard & Ballet Mistress
Devised with the dancers
Annabel Bronner Reid
Nelson Reguera Perez
Wei Wei Zhang
Australian Opera & Ballet Orchestra
Associate Artistic Director
A ballet commissioned by
The Australian Ballet &
The Sydney Opera House
Steve Georgiou Design
Online Editor & Grading
Sound Post Production