Adelaide-born Stephen Baynes received
his early dance training with Joanna
Priest, who encouraged him to choreograph
and who nurtured his interest in music
and theatre. From Priest's school he
was accepted into the Australian Ballet
School and he subsequently joined the
Australian Ballet in 1976. He left the
company in 1981 and from 1982 to 1984
worked with Stuttgart Ballet where he
danced in Stuttgart's extensive John
Cranko repertoire. In Stuttgart he also
worked with leading choreographers, including
Kenneth MacMillan, William Forsythe,
Jiri Kylian and John Neumeier, and took
part in the choreographic workshops that
were part of the Stuttgart Ballet's activities.
He returned to the Australian Ballet
in 1985 and was promoted to soloist in
While Joanna Priest and Peggy van Praagh
had both encouraged Baynes to consider
choreography, his choreographic talents
first came to public attention in 1986.
In that year, when the Australian Ballet
was under the direction of Maina Gielgud,
Strauss Songs for an Australian
Ballet choreographic workshop. His first
commissioned work for the company was
Catalyst, which premiered
in 1990, which toured to London in 1992
and the United States in 1990 and 1994,
and which was staged for the Royal Danish
Ballet in the late 1990s. Baynes was
appointed resident choreographer at the
Australian Ballet in 1995. He made his
Beyond Bach for the company
in that year.
Baynes' choreographic talents were also
nurtured by Ross Stretton during his
tenure as artistic director of the Australian
Ballet. Under Stretton Baynes created
At the edge of night in
1997, which premiered at the Melbourne
International Festival of the Arts. He
also made his first full length work,
1914, under Stretton's directorship.
Based on the novel
Fly Away Peter by David
Malouf, and set to a commissioned score
by Graeme Koehne,
1914 featured Lisa Bolte
and Steven Heathcote in the leading roles.
It premiered at the State Theatre, the
Arts Centre, Melbourne, on 7 April 1998.
Baynes was awarded an Australian Dance
Award for outstanding choreographic achievement
that year. For the Sydney 2000 Olympic
Arts Festival he made
Personal Best, and in 2001
Requiem, to the music of
Faure, for a joint production of the
Australian Ballet and the State Opera
of South Australia.
Under the directorship of David McAllister,
Baynes continues to work as resident
choreographer with the Australian Ballet.
In 2003 he made
Molto Vivace. This work,
with costume design by Anna French, set
design by Richard Roberts and lighting
by Rachel Burke, was danced to music
by Handel and premiered at the State
Theatre, Victorian Arts Centre, on 28
Molto vivace won two 2004
Green Room Awards - the Betty Pounder
Award for original choreography and the
award for best setting/lighting/costume.
For 2004 the Australian Ballet commissioned
a triple bill program,
Southern Lights, composed
entirely of works by Baynes.
Southern Lights opened in
Canberra on 21 May and comprised
Imaginary Masque, a work
for eight dancers to music by Ravel,
Unspoken Dialogues, a duet
for Steven Heathcote and Justine Summers
to music by Schnittke, and
El Tango a work for ten
dancers to music by Piazzolla. Baynes
created a new
Raymonda for the flagship
company in 2006. In 2007, his commissioned
Constant Variants, was a
work for eight dancers, set to Tchaikovsky's
Variations on a Rococo Theme.
In 2008, he collaborated with composer
Richard Mills to create
Night Path for 'Interplay',
a program that paired renowned choreographers
with Australian composers to create three
world premieres with new musical scores.
In addition to works made for the Australian
Ballet, Baynes has created works for
La Scala Ballet, Sydney Dance Company,
West Australian Ballet, the Queensland
Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and
New York City Ballet's Diamond Project.