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An excited audience of Society Members and friends were thrilled to be present at the afternoon first full-dress studio rehearsal of The Australian Ballet School’s MORNING MELODIES programme on Friday 20 May 2011. What a programme! It will be presented at the State Theatre, Victorian Arts Centre on Tuesday 31 May at 11.00am and 1.00pm.

Students of the Australian Ballet School in Ascension

ASCENSION choreographed by Leigh Rowles, is one of the most beautiful ballets created by Leigh to the exquisite music of Rachmaninoff (Piano Concerto No.2). It was danced by Hannah O'Neill with Joseph Chapman, Heath Cundy, James Lyttle and Benjamin Stone and the audience just roared its approval as it finished.

BATUCADA another work by Leigh Rowles and which captured the audience with its rhythm and beat and its crisp and sharp presentation by the 28 dancers of the School. Clever costuming highlighted the choreography as did the confidence of the students whose professionalism shone in every move.

NUANCE choreographed by Margaret Wilson for eight male students to music especially composed by Neil McNeil is a challenging and vibrant work which the young men danced with exuberance and enthusiasm.

Helen O'Neill in Batucada 2008 spacer Stephanie Williams in Paquita pose
Hannah O'Neill in Batucada in 2008   Stephanie Williams in Paquita pose

PAQUITA choreographed by Marius Petipa to the music of Leon Minkus is a ballet which has tested ballet companies around the world so it was such a delight to see the senior students of the School perform it with such confidence and technique. We saw the Principal roles danced by Hannah O'Neill and Brodie James, the Soloist Ladies danced by Jasmin Durham, Benedicte Bemet, Jill Ogai and Coco Mathieson and the Corps de Ballet danced by Donna-Mae Burrows, Nicole Blain, Lisa Craig, Hayley Donnison, Brittany Haws, Courtney McKeown, Alana Nanasca and Sophie Zoricic.

The future of ballet in Australia is in safe hands as The Australian Ballet School continues to train and develop a continuing supply of potentially great dancers. Congratulations to Director, Marilyn Rowe and all her committed staff. Every member of the audience left the Ballet Centre with a smile of pride.

Josie Woodgate, OAM.

Photographs courtesy of The Australian Ballet School


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