Le Beau Danube
Martin Ceslis & Lynette Forday in 'Le Beau Danube', 1983

Le Beau Danube

October 5th, 1983 — October 8th, 1983


Two reviews appeared simultaneously in two different Brisbane newspapers and both were full of praise for this production of ‘Le Beau Danube’. In fact there were two sections to this program, with the first half featuring four ballet works that showed off the technical and performance skills of this very talented company of dancers. Then the  light-hearted ‘Le Beau Danube’ gave plenty of scope for character interpretation as well as brilliant dancing. Under the choreographic and production leadership of Artistic Director Phyllis Danaher and Assistant Artistic Director Leslie White, it was a critically successful season, as the following two reviews confirm.


Review by Jean Sinclair

‘Le Beau Danube’ is the title cover for the generous program of ballet items staged by the Ballet Theatre of Queensland. Formed in 1937, it is the State’s oldest ballet company.

There are star performers with astonishing virtuosity, colourful costumes and splendid lighting effects, to make it a very engaging production.

Although the dancers are very young, and most have quite a long way to go to perfecting their technique, their performances have special entertainment value.


Not yet able to interpret mature emotions, they are superb at expressing youthful joy in life, which is most pleasant to watch.

When this is allied with the brilliant virtuosity of a young dancer like Susan Scott, the effect is quite dazzling. She and Martin Ceslis provided a delightful partnership in the first ballet ‘Tanabata’.

Kathryn Dunn and Andrew Leitch made another excellent duo in ‘The Flower Festival Pas de Deux’. In the ballet ‘Pas de Six’ each of the dancers, Kimberley Bennett, Therese Collins, Lynette Forday, Kim Kerrigan, Helayne Morrow and Nadine Sayers displayed individual talents to make this a most effective work.

‘Le Beau Danube’, the last item on the program, gave a large cast a chance to take part in a light dramatic work with plenty of character interpretation. ‘Le Beau Danube’ will continue at Twelfth Night Theatre, Bowen Hills, until tomorrow.

Telegraph, Friday October 7, 1983.


Review by David Rowbotham

In Le Beau Danube at the Twelfth Night Theatre, the artistic director of the Ballet Theatre of Queensland, Phyllis Danaher, has but 40 young dancers on the stage. That alone guarantees quite a spectacle.

The season is short – a matter of days. But I think I will remember for quite a while the vivacity of Lynette Forday who, on opening night, performed the role of the Viennese street-dancer that Russian ballerina Danilova turned into one of the most triumphant roles in her repertoire.

Forday is no Danilova. Yet, to the familiar music of Strauss (recorded) to the choreography adapted from Massine, and to a highly colourful production directed by Leslie White, Forday virtually “stole” the Viennese scene in which this classical ballet is set.

It is a pity that the Ballet Theatre’s seasons are so short. It is a pity too that main roles are alternated among principal dancers; as a result, a number of dancers go unmentioned in review (one cannot list them all).

And it is a pity that again there is no pit orchestra. I am rather tired of “canned” music.

However, Le Beau Danube appears, as Forday does, like a find. So do other ballets and other ballerinas in this program. Susan Scott, the title dancer of Danaher’s Legend of Tanabata (music, Chausson) performs with a notable grace and expression.

And in The Flower Festival Pas de Deux (music, Helsted; choreography, after Bourninville), Kathryn Dunn, partnered by Andrew Veitch, also gives a notable performance.

The professionally experienced Phyllis Danaher founded her theatre in 1937 as a company devoted to the classical tradition. Since then many of her students, and many students from local academies for whom her seasons provide a public showcase, have gone on to national and international recognition.

I feel that this latest season underscores Danaher’s long and outstanding record in this respect.

Despite certain features of uneven execution that persist in the face of professional concept and control, the present spectacle remains one of delight. The costuming is beautiful (Forday is dressed stunningly in scarlet). The atmospheric set designs range from the misty elements of legend to the bright elements of a Viennese garden. The lighting, so to speak, is spot on.

And all that dancing by 40 young artists does possess the fine visual integrity that can send the audience away theatrically satisfied.

So here is another showcase occasion, of which this important longstanding company should, justly, be proud.

Review by Arts critic for The Courier Mail, David Rowbotham, 7 October 1983

Researcher and writer: Dr Christine Comans


Twelfth Night Theatre, Brisbane
Artistic Director
Phyllis Danaher M.B.E.
Assistant Artistic Director:Leslie White
Production Director
Leslie White
Phyllis Danaher
Costume Designer
Theda Lowe
Lighting Designer
Jack Rodgers
Sound Designer
Sound and Video Consultant: Gary Young
Amédée-Ernest Chausson, Aram Khatchauruan, Johann Strauss
Ira Smith


  • Kimberley Bennett
  • Therese Collins
  • Kathryn Dunn
  • Lynette Forday
  • Nadine Sayers
  • Susan Scott
  • Martin Ceslis
  • Andrew Leitch
  • Susan Wells
  • Larissa Jones
  • Melanie Jones
  • Belinda Norris
  • Kerry Norris
  • Kimberley Bennett
  • Kim Kerrigan
  • Helayne Morrow
  • Tania Bobyk
  • Philippa Cameron
  • Julie Ceslis
  • Janet Charlton
  • Suzanne Crane
  • Alan Forman
  • Nicola Grigg
  • Chris Hoy
  • Aleta Kolb
  • Andrew Kucharski
  • Deborah Leach
  • Helen Lockyer
  • Wendy Lowe
  • Samantha Luck
  • Bruce McNeice
  • Alex Ogle
  • Bill Shannon
  • Alison Sharp
  • Georgia Shepherd
  • Byron Storey
  • Julie Thomason
  • Jonathan Trench
  • Leslie White
  • Lisa Wilson
  • Lynette Woodcraft
  • Larissa Wright


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