As one of the new dancing stars of the Australian Ballet, Adam Bull has spent much of the past few years hurling his finely toned body around in a variety of productions, usually dressed in figure-hugging tights while surrounded by girls in tutus.
But not in his latest show, Raymonda. The classic 1898 ballet has been given an overhaul, is now set in the 1950s and tells the Grace Kelly-inspired story of a Hollywood movie star torn in her choice between her love of the movies and her love for a European prince.
The Australian Ballet production, which opens 1 December, features the best of 1950s Hollywood glamour, complete with elegant evening gowns and tailored dinner suits.
Twenty-five-year-old Bull, who is also starring in the coming weeks in the Russian dance work Revolutions, says Raymonda is unlike anything he has ever been involved with.
It is absolutely stunning, and there is not a tutu in sight, Bull says during a break in rehearsals. While tutus are beautiful, this show is about very sophisticated style and the look is very lush.
We are all dancing in suits and ties, and while it looks brilliant, we are sweating dancing underneath all of those layers. But I don’t think any of us cares as it feels like we have taken a step into another era with this.
A lot of the ballets we do are about fairies and the mythical, whereas this is all quite real.
In Raymonda, which has been choreographed by Stephen Baynes and stars Kirsty Martin, Steven Heathcote and Damien Welch, Bull takes on the role of Montgomery Ward, the designer of Raymonda’s wedding gown for her big day with the prince.
Bull admits that his character plays on every sissy stereotype of gay men Hollywood seemed to perpetuate in the 1950s.
But he then explains that, in keeping with the styling of the production, his portrayal is faithful to the period.
Montgomery is very much a stereotype of all those camp characters you would see in the movies, which might be not be a great thing, but it seems to work, Bull says.
It actually feels right to play him this way, so I don’t really think anyone can have a problem with it.
Revolutions plays until 27 November. The Raymonda season is 1-20 December. Both are at the Sydney Opera House. Bookings on 9250 7777 or at www.sydneyoperahouse.com.