Johan Inger’s Carmen is yet another triumph for The Australian Ballet under Artistic Director David Hallberg.

Following the success of Kunstkamer, it proves beyond doubt that our dancers can take signature works of other companies and make them their own (or better).

That may seem a bold claim, but last night’s performance of Carmen is as good as any seen around the world, with some performances surpassing those that have gone before.

Jill Ogai and Callum Linnane in The Australian Ballet’s production of Johan Inger’s Carmen. Photo © Daniel Boud

Others have certainly succeeded at creating the playful unease that quickly gives way to violence, but few could match the emotive force of Jill Ogai and Callum Linnane’s visceral performances.

As Carmen, Ogai (recently promoted to Principal Artist) is the perfect embodiment of the woman who will always be free, and whose principles defy convention, confounding the men who try to ensnare her.

What makes Ogai’s performance truly remarkable is her chameleon-like ability to blend in with the rest of the tobacco workers, underlining the indiscriminate way men see them as mere sex objects devoid of personality, before she emerges from the crowd and...