Rocinante - Don Quixote
Client: The Australian Ballet 2023
In 2023, A Blanck Canvas crafted a puppet of Don Quixote’s faithful steed, Rocinante, for the Australian Ballet’s revival of Rudolf Nureyev’s Ballet. This exceptional puppet graced the stages of the Arts Centre in Melbourne and the Sydney Opera House, with our adept puppeteers touring the production throughout Australia over a three-month period, inclusive of rehearsals.
Executed to exude the appearance of a loyal yet weary horse, Rocinante was deftly operated by three puppeteers, with two positioned inside the puppet, one each between the front and back legs, and one puppeteer guiding the horse from the head.
A spine engineered frame effectively distributed weight across the shoulders of the interior puppeteers, enabling the puppet to carry a rider. A Blanck Canvas’ puppeteers accompanied the ballet, mastering choreography to seamlessly synchronize the horse’s movements with the other dancers.
Rocinante featured blinking eyes and twitching ears, skillfully manipulated by the head puppeteer, and a flicking tail, expertly managed by the puppeteer at the rear leg.
The puppet itself boasted a core frame composed of aluminum and cane, adorned with a combination of PE foams strengthened with a membrane coating, open-cell sponge foam, cotton lycra, and stretch mesh muscle bags filled with poly beans. All hair elements, including the tail, mane, and eyelashes, were custom-dyed real horsehair, imparting a lifelike quality. The entire puppet showcased a haunting painted finish, adding depth and authenticity to its appearance.
To view the making of the Don Quixote horse, head to our Instagram.