Collaborations with Nature

Water Crane Ballet

A gaggle of giant cranes perform a riotous water ballet at the Bolte Bridge end of Melbourne’s Docklands. Reminiscent of the area’s history as a working harbour, the cranes perform swoops and sweeps that range from the lyrical to the raucous.


The cranes’ innately anthropomorphic form and gliding hyper mobility make them the ‘enfant terribles’ of water play. Scooping water up out of the harbour, their slewing jibs transport the liquid load high into the air in virtuoso gestures. Some perform arabesques, pirouettes and plies, whilst others, like water carrying helicopters, leave glistening trails of overflowing water falling through the sky.


Operating automatically each crane is programmed to perform a sequence of movements. At times the cranes perform independently as part of a choreographed whole and at others they move together to create a synchronised water crane ballet.