The Australian Ballet

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The Australian Ballet
Australian Ballet Logo.gif
General information
Name The Australian Ballet
Predecessor Borovansky Ballet
Year founded 1962
Founding artistic director Dame Peggy van Praagh
Principal venue Level 5
2 Kavanagh Street
South Bank
Victoria, Australia
Website australianballet.com.au
Artistic staff
Artistic director
Resident choreographers
Other
Associated schools Australian Ballet School
Formation
  • Principal Artist
  • Senior Artist
  • Soloist
  • Coryphée
  • Corps de Ballet

The Australian Ballet is the largest classical ballet company in Australia. It was founded by J. C. Williamson Theatres Ltd. and the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust in 1962, with the English-born dancer, teacher, repetiteur and director Dame Peggy van Praagh as founding artistic director. Today, it is recognised as one of the world's major international ballet companies.

History[edit]

The roots of the Australian Ballet can be found in the Borovansky Ballet, a company founded in 1940 by the Czech dancer Edouard Borovansky. Borovansky had been a dancer in the touring ballet company of the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova and, after visiting Australia on tour with the Covent Garden Russian Ballet, he decided to remain in Australia, establishing a ballet school in Melbourne in 1939, out of which he developed a performance group which became the Borovansky Ballet. The company was supported and funded by J. C. Williamson Theatres Ltd from 1944. Following Borovansky's death in 1959, the English dancer and administrator Dame Peggy van Praagh was invited to become artistic director of the company. J. C. Williamson Theatres Ltd decided to disband the Borovansky Ballet in 1961.

In 1961, J. C. Williamson Theatres Ltd and the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust received federal subsidies towards the establishment of a national ballet company. These organisations established the Australian Ballet Foundation to assist with the establishment of a new company, which in 1962 became the Australian Ballet. Peggy van Praagh, who had been kept on a retainer by J. C. Williamson Theatres Ltd through the intervening year between the disbanding of the Borovansky Ballet and the establishment of the Australian Ballet, was invited to become the founding artistic director of the company. The majority of the dancers employed by the fledgling company were drawn from former members of the Borovansky Ballet.

The first performance by the Australian Ballet was Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, staged at Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney on 2 November 1962. The principal dancers in the first season were Kathleen Gorham, Marilyn Jones and Garth Welch. Van Praagh also invited the Royal Ballet's Ray Powell to temporarily became the company's first ballet master, with Leon Kellaway (brother of Cecil Kellaway), a former dancer with the Covent Garden Russian Ballet, as the company's first ballet teacher. In later years Sir Robert Helpmann, Marilyn Jones and Maina Gielgud made major contributions as Artistic Directors of the Australian Ballet.

In 1967 van Praagh established the Australian Ballet School, which was formed specially to train dancers for the company and remains the company's associate school to this day. Dame Margaret Scott and company dancer, Marilyn Rowe have headed the ballet school.

Present[edit]

Today the company is based in Melbourne; its Southbank headquarters is the Primrose Potter Australian Ballet Centre, named after its long term supporter Lady (Primrose) Potter.[1][2] The company regularly tours to all the major cities within Australia, with lengthy seasons in Melbourne at the State Theatre (accompanied by Orchestra Victoria) and in Sydney at the Sydney Opera House. For one week in alternate years, the Australian Ballet performs at the Lyric Theatre at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane, and one week each year, at the Adelaide Festival Centre in Adelaide. The company also occasionally tours internationally, and performs annually in an intimate outdoor setting on Hamilton Island.[3]

The Australian Ballet works in close cooperation with the Australian Ballet School, of which many of the company's dancers are graduates. Giving approximately 200 performances a year, the Australian Ballet is the busiest ballet company in the world. With a vast repertoire which includes the major classical and heritage works as well as contemporary productions, it follows its artistic vision of "Caring for Tradition, Daring to be Different". Each year, the company also presents an extensive national education programme, run by Colin Peasley a former Principal Dancer with the company, to further inspire and educate its audiences.

Box office sales, derived from its strong and loyal audience base, are the foundation of the company's income stream. The Australian Ballet also receives funding from the Australian, Victorian and New South Wales governments, corporate sponsors, private donors and bequests.

The company's current artistic director is David McAllister, who was a principal dancer until 2001. The company's previous artistic directors were: Ross Stretton (1996–2001); Maina Gielgud (1983–96); Marilyn Jones (1979–82); Anne Woolliams (1976–77); Sir Robert Helpmann (1965–76) and the founding artistic director, Dame Peggy van Praagh (1962–74; 1978).

The most recent appointment to the position of executive director (July 2013) is Libby Christie, former Managing Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Her predecessor was Valerie Wilder, who succeeded Richard Evans.

Repertoire[edit]

Don Quixote[edit]

In 1973 the Australian Ballet released a film version of the ballet Don Quixote with music by Ludwig Minkus, starring Rudolf Nureyev as Basilio, Lucette Aldous as Kitri and Sir Robert Helpmann in the title role, along with artists of the Australian Ballet. Set and costumes were designed by Barry Kay. Future artistic director Ross Stretton staged the stage production during his artistic directorship of the Royal Ballet.

The Merry Widow[edit]

The ballet The Merry Widow, with music from Franz Lehár's operetta of the same name, was created by Sir Robert Helpmann and choreographed by Ronald Hynd especially for the Australian Ballet. The designer was Desmond Healey. The adaptation from operetta score to ballet score was done by John Lanchbery (then musical director of the Australian Ballet) and his colleague Alan Abbot. The ballet premiered on 13 November 1975 at the Palais Theatre, Melbourne.

In 1976, Dame Margot Fonteyn, who was guesting with the Australian Ballet, danced the leading role of Hanna Glawari.

The ballet was revived by the company in 2011, in Melbourne from 23 June to 4 July, the final performance being principal artist Kirsty Martin's farewell performance, and in Sydney from 10 to 28 November, the 26 November evening performance farewelling principal artist Robert Curran.

Company[edit]

Dancers with The Australian Ballet are: [4]

Principal artists[edit]

Senior artists[edit]

Soloists[edit]

Coryphées[edit]

Corps de ballet[edit]

Telstra Ballet Dancer Award[edit]

The Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards have been made annually since 2003, in support of the aspirations of The Australian Ballet's elite young dancers. It is the biggest prize available specifically to a dancer in Australia, with a cash prize of $20,000 to the winner. The Telstra People's Choice Award is made to the most popular of the nominees in that year, using internet and SMS voting. The winner of the People's Choice receives a cash prize of $5,000.[52]

For the first time since the inauguration of the awards, the judging panel was unable to separate two dancers for the main award in 2010 and each received $20,000. The winners were Ty King-Wall and Dana Stephensen. Amy Harris won the People's Choice Award for the second time (she also won it in 2008).[53]

In 2011, Chengwu Guo became the first male dancer to take out both the main award and the People's Choice.

In 2012, Amy Harris, nominated for a third time, won the main award.

In 2013, Christopher Rodgers-Wilson won the main award.

Behind Ballet[edit]

Behind Ballet is the blog of the Australian Ballet.[54]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Australian Ballet
  2. ^ Australian Ballet
  3. ^ "qualia on Hamilton Island’s Great Barrier Reef". qualia. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "Dancers". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Dancers: Adam Bull". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2002, was promoted to principal in June 2008" 
  6. ^ "Dancers: Lucinda Dunn". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 1991, was promoted to principal artist in 2002" 
  7. ^ Carolyn Webb. "Passion keeps ballerina on her toes". Fairfax Media. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "Dancers: Madeleine Eastoe". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined the company in 1997, promoted to principal artist in 2006" 
  9. ^ "Dancers: Daniel Gaudiello". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2004, was promoted to principal artist in 2010" 
  10. ^ "Chengwu Guo promoted". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Dancers: Chengwu Guo". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 30 November 2013. "Growing up in China, Chengwu Guo began dance classes at the age of eleven." 
  12. ^ "Dancers: Kevin Jackson". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2003, was promoted to principal artist in 2010" 
  13. ^ "Cupcakes & Conversation with Kevin Jackson, principal artist". Ballet News. 6 December 2010. 
  14. ^ "Dancers: Lana Jones". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2002, was promoted to coryphée in 2005, was promoted to principal artist in 2010" 
  15. ^ "Dancers: Andrew Killian". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2000, was promoted to principal artist in 2011" 
  16. ^ "Dancers: Ty King-Wall". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved April 2013. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2006, was promoted to soloist in 2010, to senior artist in 2011, and to principal artist on 6 April 2013" 
  17. ^ "Dancers: Amber Scott". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2001, was promoted to principal artist in 2011" 
  18. ^ "Dancers: Leanne Stojmenov". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2001, was promoted to principal artist in 2011" 
  19. ^ "Dancers: Juliet Burnett". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2003, was promoted to soloist in 2009, and to senior artist for the 2011 season" 
  20. ^ "Dancers: Amy Harris". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2002, was promoted to coryphée in 2007, and soloist in 2011" 
  21. ^ "Dancers: Rudy Hawkes". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2005, was promoted to soloist for the 2011 season" 
  22. ^ a b c d e "Eight dancers elevated at The Australian Ballet" (PDF). Press Release. The Australian Ballet. 29 September 2011. "Reiko Hombo will become a senior artist, Chengwu Guo will be made a soloist and Brett Chynoweth, John-Paul Idaszak, Ako Kondo, Brooke Lockett, Karen Nanasca and Sharni Spencer are moving up to the rank of coryphée. These promotions are effective in the new year." 
  23. ^ "Dancers: Reiko Hombo". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2006, was promoted to soloist in 2010" 
  24. ^ a b c d e "The Australian Ballet back on board in 2013". Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  25. ^ "Dancers: Ako Kondo". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2010, was promoted to coryphée for the 2012 season" 
  26. ^ "Dancers: Miwako Kubota". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 1998, was promoted to senior artist in 2010" 
  27. ^ "Dancers: Brett Chynoweth". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 13 March 2013. "joined The Australian Ballet at the beginning of 2009" 
  28. ^ "Dancers: Ben Davis". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2005, was promoted to coryphée in 2009, and soloist for the 2011 season" 
  29. ^ "Dancers: Robyn Hendricks". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2005, was promoted to soloist in 2011" 
  30. ^ "Dancers: Natasha Kusen". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 21 June 2013. "was promoted to soloist in June 2013" 
  31. ^ "Dancers: Brett Simon". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet as a coryphée in July 2009, was promoted to soloist in 2011" 
  32. ^ "Dancers: Jacob Sofer". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet at the beginning of 2005, was promoted to soloist in 2011" 
  33. ^ "Dancers: Dana Stephensen". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2005, was promoted to Coryphée in 2010" 
  34. ^ "Dancers: Laura Tong". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2004, was promoted to soloist in 2009" 
  35. ^ "Dancers: Vivienne Wong". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2003, was promoted to coryphée for the 2008 season" 
  36. ^ "Dancers: Andrew Wright". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2002, was promoted to coryphée in 2008, and to soloist for the 2011 season" 
  37. ^ "Dancers: Dimity Azoury". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 13 March 2013. "has a Scottish Deerhound called Gunther Edwin who tours everywhere with her" 
  38. ^ "Dancers: Benedicte Bemet". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  39. ^ "Dancers: Kismet Bourne". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2004" 
  40. ^ "Dancers: Jessica Fyfe". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 29 January 2014. "takes her guitar everywhere she goes" 
  41. ^ "Dancers: Ingrid Gow". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  42. ^ "Dancers: Calvin Hannaford". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 13 March 2013. "Calvin has a fear of spiders" 
  43. ^ "Dancers: Cameron Hunter". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 30 November 2013. "joined the Australian Ballet in 2011" 
  44. ^ "Dancers: John-Paul Idaszak". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2007" 
  45. ^ "Dancers: Brooke Lockett". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet in 2006" 
  46. ^ "Dancers: Jarryd Madden". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet at the beginning of 2008, was promoted to coryphée in 2011" 
  47. ^ "Dancers: Heidi Martin". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet's corps de ballet in 2009" 
  48. ^ "Dancers: Karen Nanasca". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet's corps de ballet in 2009" 
  49. ^ "Dancers: Christopher Rodgers-Wilson". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 30 November 2013. "Chris joined the Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2007" 
  50. ^ "Dancers: Sharni Spencer". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "joined The Australian Ballet at the beginning of 2008" 
  51. ^ "Dancers: Garry Stocks". The Australian Ballet. Retrieved 8 February 2012. "was promoted to coryphée in 2011" 
  52. ^ "Telstra People's Choice Award". Telstra. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  53. ^ Hook, Chris (6 December 2010). "Telstra Ballet Dancer Award". Sydney: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 
  54. ^ Behind Ballet, the Australian Ballet's blog

External links[edit]