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Ballet in step with tango

Ballet in step with tango

Returning to the dance studio to coach Queensland Ballet in tango is a big step for Rosetta Cook, writes Fiona Purdon

FORMER Queensland Ballet prima ballerina Rosetta Cook knows she was "crazy and brave" to choreograph a tango piece for the Vis-a-Vis series — which starts Friday — with only two weeks of rehearsal before the performance.

She says the opportunity to choreograph for the Queensland Ballet after a break of more than 12 years was too good to pass up.

Her tango piece, featuring six couples including principals Christian Tatchev and Rachael Walsh, is billed as a "work in progress" for the intimate setting at the company's West End studio.

Cook says two couples – Rachael Walsh and Christian Tatchev and Ten Crilly and Todd Sutherland – will perform duets.

"It's a great opportunity to get it pushed out quite quickly at a performance level and then you can know if something is going to work when it's shown to an audience," Cook says.

"Hopefully it will go to something bigger. That's what I'm visualising."

Cook, whose previous QB work was The Last Princess, says that she and QB artistic director Francois Klaus had been talking about a tango project for much of the year and they realised now was the best time for both parties.

The co-director of ballet school 2ballerinas, who is also working on a piece for next year's Queensland Music Festival, is grateful that the QB dancers have been SO "quick and brilliant" at picking up the steps.

"It's wonderful to be working with dancers of such high calibre," she says. "I love working with dancers who have a strong classical technique and can also move in a contemporary way and who have a sense of performance and theatre."

Cook, 51, may have left QB 18 years ago, but says she felt at home as soon as she walked through the studio doors.

"I don't reflect on the past too much," she says. "I like to keep moving along. But I have such great memories. It feels like coming home. It feels natural to be here working."

Cook says she gave away dancing when she had her daughter Ruby 12 years ago because she found choreography a better fit with motherhood.

"Being a choreographer is more manageable and not as demanding, whereas being a dancer takes over your life," she says.

"It is emotionally draining.

"You give your heart and soul to the audience.

"Once you become a mum, dancing is no longer your main focus."

Cook was first attracted to tango in the early 1990s soon after she left the Queensland Ballet and has had classes with some of the world's best teachers, alongside Strictly Ballroom's choreographer John "Cha Cha" O'Connell.

She had three weeks in Buenos Aires in 2007, where she went to clubs, concert halls and dance studios and took part in workshops.

"Once I started with tango I was hooked," she says.

The Queensland Ballet's season of Vis-a-Vis runs from Friday until November12 at the Thomas Dixon Centre, West Cnd. Bookings: 136 246 or www.qtlx.com.au.

Image Caption: BOLD MOVE: Rosetta Cook supervises Christian Tatchev and Rachael Walsh in rehearsal.

Picture: Bruce Long

The Courier-Mail Tuesday, October 26, 2010

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