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The Australian Ballet turns 50

Photography Georges Antoni

On Friday 2 November 2012 The Australian Ballet celebrates its golden 50th anniversary.

To mark this momentous milestone, the company is performing in a 50th Anniversary Gala at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne on Friday 2 November and Saturday 3 November 2012. The Gala includes international guest artists from ballet companies all over the world, including American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, National Ballet of China and The Tokyo Ballet.

The gala will be beamed live into more than ten regional cinemas nationally, and will also be broadcast at live sites in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.

The Gala will also be broadcast on ABC1 at 3pm on Sunday 4 November. To find out more about the Gala broadcasts near you, click here.

The Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, David McAllister, said this year had been a non-stop celebration.

“Today is the culmination of many amazing achievements for the company over the past 50 years. I’m incredibly proud that we continue to be a truly national, and international, ballet company.

“With so many people flocking to shows and watching us either via TV or digital platforms it just shows that Australians love their ballet. We look forward to sharing another 50 years of this glorious art form with them,” said McAllister.

Over 2.5 million Australians have engaged with the company in 2012, from on stage performances to classroom education events to online.

The dancers have performed 178 mainstage shows and travelled almost 24,000 kilometres, visiting almost every corner of the country in this extraordinary milestone year. It is by far The Australian Ballet’s biggest touring footprint in its 50-year history.

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
•    Accrued more than 29,000 costumes
•    Performed 7379 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, featuring over 10,000 hand-sewn beads
•    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
•    Been led by seven artistic directors: Peggy van Praagh, Robert Helpmann, Anne Woolliams, Marilyn Jones, Maina Gielgud, Ross Stretton and David McAllister



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