Skip Links

2009 Event Media Release - Push

Issued 19 Jan 2009
Sylvie Guillem & Russell Maliphant in PUSH

“This is partnering of a magical complicity” - The New York Times

Having performed to wide acclaim in over 24 cities including London, Paris, Venice, Madrid and
New York, and garnering a string of five-star reviews, PUSH comes to Sydney Opera House for
just four performances only from 15 – 18 April, 2009.

Together, living dance legend Sylvie Guillem and acclaimed British dancer-choreographer
Russell Maliphant will treat audiences to their fluid, electrifying and internationally celebrated

The program, featuring four works by Maliphant is subtle, intimate, and elegant with a modern
accent: Solo, performed by Guillem to atmospheric flamenco music; Shift, Maliphant’s signature
solo; Two, Guillem’s dazzling solo trapped in a box of light and Push, a glamorous duet which
combines all the qualities Maliphant’s work is famous for – hypnotic beauty, serene strength and
smooth athleticism.

“When geniuses collide, sparks fly. There can be no doubt that Sylvie Guillem is one of the
greatest dancers ever – and now she has encountered the choreographer Russell
Maliphant, a man who shows every sign of being equally outstanding.”
- The Daily Telegraph, London

Maliphant has tailored his choreography to show off Guillem’s assets. Her famously high
extensions and dramatic presence are a perfect foil for his zen-like calm and feline sensuousness.
Guillem said, “When you dance with the choreographer, there is a direct connection. You respond
to what he is feeling. Nothing gets lost in the translation—it's as if you are able to speak his

Produced and commissioned by Sadler’s Wells Theatre, in collaboration with Maliphant and
Guillem, PUSH has had two return seasons in London since its debut in 2005, toured across
Europe and sold out at New York’s City Center. PUSH has received four major awards: an Olivier
Award, a Time Out Award, Best Choreography (Modern) at the National Dance Awards and the
South Bank Show Dance Award.

Russell Maliphant trained at the Royal Ballet School and graduated into Sadler’s Wells Royal
Ballet in the 80s. His performances were celebrated for their fluidity, cool control and strong stage
presence but Maliphant never really connected with classical ballet and left to pursue a career in
independent dance. Working with companies as DV8 Physical Theatre, Michael Clark & Company,
Laurie Booth Company and Rosemary Butcher, he founded The Russell Maliphant Company in

Maliphant’s choreography integrates principles and practices from a variety of body-orientated
techniques, including classical ballet, yoga, capoeira and martial arts. Shaped by his own style as a
dancer, he makes the long lines and lyrical steps that suit his own body. However, it is the tension,
resistance and one’s relationship with another that he is most interested in understanding.
Sylvie Guillem is widely regarded as the “most brilliant ballerina of her generation” (The
Guardian). A protégé of Rudolf Nureyev, she rose to the top of the rigidly hierarchical Paris Opera
Ballet younger than anyone in the company’s 350-year history, then famously quit to the join the
equally illustrious Royal Ballet.

Like her guiding mentor Nureyev, Guillem has revolutionised the way that classical dance is
presented and interpreted. One of the most acclaimed classical dancers on the stage today, she
has the ability to make extraordinarily difficult performances seem effortless.

Famous not only for her dazzling technique but her understated glamour, beautiful body, fabulously
long, shapely legs, pioneering contemporary choreographers such as William Forsythe, Mats Ek
and Akram Khan have leapt at the chance to create for her.

Dancing all the principal roles across the full range of classical and contemporary repertoire, her
iconoclastic interpretations, along with her virtuosic technique, have ensured that she remains one
of ballet’s reigning prima ballerinas.

Guillem last performed at Sydney Opera House in March 2008 with Akram Khan in Sacred

This evening of dance is complemented by Michael Hulls lighting design reflecting the flow and
energy between movement and light.

Season Details: Push
Venue: Concert Hall
Dates/Times: 15, 16, 17, 18 April 2009 8pm
Tickets: $45 - $125
Information: (02) 9250 7777 or online
Media Enquiries: Claire Vince, Sydney Opera House
(02) 9250 7825 / 0409 560 742 / 


Help support Australia's greatest icon today with a personalised tile!


Sydney Opera House




Various Venues

Buy Your Tileown our house_180x230
Skip Links