Patrick Thaiday of Bangarra Dance Theatre with Amber
Scott of The Australian Ballet. Photography Jess Bialek
Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet David McAllister has kicked off the company’s 50th anniversary festivities on Sunday 22 January 2012 by announcing the 50th Anniversary Ballet Project.
This exciting initiative encourages Australian artists with a unique creative vision, be they a professional or novice, to submit their ideas for a brand-new ballet work.
The winning entrant will receive $30,000 and will have their work considered for staging by The Australian Ballet in 2015.
McAllister said the competition was a fantastic way to begin the 50th anniversary celebrations.
“Right from the very beginning, one of the defining aspects of the company has been its commitment to creating new opportunities for Australian artistic talent. Over the years we’ve fostered burgeoning choreographers like Graeme Murphy, Stephen Baynes and Stanton Welch, who have all been lauded on the world stage.”
“The pool of creative talent in Australia is astonishing so I’m incredibly enthusiastic to see exactly who we’ll unearth,” McAllister said.
Full terms and conditions of the 50th Anniversary Ballet Project can be read at australianballet.com.au/balletproject from February 2012.
The competition is but one of many highlights in what will be The Australian Ballet’s biggest year ever. Across its performance and education event schedule in 2012 the company will cover every state and territory in Australia as well as tour to New York for the first time in 13 years.
All of this dancing requires a strong, talented ensemble of artists. So, this month the company warmly welcomes five new dancers into the corps de ballet: Benedicte Bemet, Joseph Chapman, Jasmin Durham, Brodie James and Jill Ogai, all 2011 graduates from The Australian Ballet School.
Much of this year will be dedicated to reflecting on the company’s extraordinary history, from its aspirational beginnings to its current status at the country’s flagship dance organisation. Over 50 years, The Australian Ballet has:
• Invested in $40 million worth of costumes and sets
• Sold over 12 million tickets to its performances
• Danced through 250,000 pairs of pointe shoes
• Performed 7201 shows
• Used 7000 metres of fabric netting to make over 700 tutus
• Created Australia’s most expensive tutu for Peter Wright’s The Nutcracker;
worth over $5000
• Employed over 550 dancers
• Amassed a repertoire of 389 ballets by 144 choreographers
• Funded 237 new commissions
• Toured to 37 countries
• Sparked many a romance, with dozens of dancer marriages
• Produced twelve ballet babies in the past decade
At The Australian Ballet, 2012 will be a year like no other – one for reflection and looking forward, and of course, celebration. Now … let’s get the party started!