West Australian Ballet

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The West Australian Ballet is the ballet dance company of Western Australia and is based in Perth at the Western Australian Ballet Centre in Maylands.

The company was founded in 1952 by Madame Kira Bousloff (formerly of the Ballets Russes)[1] and is one of the oldest ballet companies in Australia. Artistic directors have included Garth Welch (1979–1983) and Ivan Cavallari (2007-2012). Choreographers who have produced dances for the Ballet include: Stephen Baynes, Adrian Burnett, Gideon Obarzanek, Stephen Page and Natalie Weir, Jacqui Carroll, Chrissie Parrott and Garth Welch. It has a creative partnership with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.[2]

Early days[edit]

In the early days of the West Australian Ballet Madame Kira Bousloff was assisted by her Russian friend Madame Nadine Wulffius who also was briefly President of the Ballet company before Mr. Edwards. Margita Chudziak[3] interviewed Madame Nadine in 1986. Madame Nadine shares about those early days.

...My first encounter with the WA Ballet Company was very early in 1953 the year I arrived in Perth. Perth was at this time a very distant and sleepy town with out the cultural life that we were used to in Europe. There was no permanent Theatre. There was no permanent Musical Society or other such cultural and artistic organisations. When in November my relations told me that there was a Western Australian Ballet Company and they were to have a performance I was very surprised. I certainly had to go. It was on 15th November 1953. I went to His Majesty's Theatre and there was the performance. It was called 'Graduation Ball' and in it were some gypsy dancers and scenes. I was very surprised to find in 'Graduation Ball' and some other selected small numbers great similarity to the kind of Ballet-style I was used to in Europe. The similarity of the choreography of this school to my own school was because the choreographer Mrs Bousloff had been taught by the same teacher as me Olga Preobrasjenska. Mrs Bousloff was firstly taught by Olga after I had finished being taught by her. So the age difference between us was very large. (Madame Nadine was 16 years older than Madame Kira). I was pleased to learn this about Mrs Bousloff and wanted to get acquainted with her. After a while I did go and make her acquaintance and we became friends.

I did not give regular lessons at her studio, but I helped her with advice and with the corrections of her productions. By the way she was an excellent producer. And the first one I worked with her on was "Cinderella" and the music was by James Penberthy...It was not a very big company but it was big enough to put on small ballets....We worked slowly with performances but the Company was not officially registered. It took us a few years until the Company became registered, which was in 1957 (the WA Ballet website mentions 1959 as the year). During this time the Company didn't have many performances because there was no government subsidy and all our dancers were working without a salary....[4]

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