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The Australian Ballet Society has been providing Members with the opportunities to attend dress rehearsals of The Australian Ballet in the State Theatre,  Victorian Arts Centre as well as a multitude of functions covering many facets of ballet and dance, music, costumes and sets for 47 years.  That must be a record!


Meet the New Dancers – February 2013

Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, David McAllister interviewed two new dancers who joined the Company this year after graduating from The Australian Ballet School.  Lisa Craig and Cristiano Martino were very excited and proud to have become professional dancers with our national company and chatted with confidence about their ambitions for the future as well as their backgrounds, their early dance training and their other interests.    A third dancer who previously graduated from The Australian Ballet School and then joined Bangarra Dance Theatre in 2008, joined our company at the end of 2012.  Ella Havelka, a descendant of the Wiradjuri  people of central N.S.W. spoke very eloquently of her life and background,  her love of dance and her involvement in arts and crafts.  It was fascinating to hear from these three young and enthusiastic people who will add to the talent of The Australian Ballet.


Parents’ Access Week – March 2013

This is an annual opportunity for parents and families to come to the Ballet Centre and see their youngsters in action in their classes at The Australian Ballet School.  The Ballet Centre was filled with excited families as well as excited students.  Once the classes commenced the parents became quiet as the students did their best to fulfil every movement to perfection.  All that could be heard in the long passage was the soft thud of ballet shoes on the floor, the changing music from studio to studio and the directions and encouragement from the teaching staff.  It’s a very happy week for Mums and Dads and lots of Grandmas!



Dress Rehearsals (2) Don Quixote – March 2013

These two rehearsals really hit the spot and Members bradvo’d and cheered throughout both. Principal Artists  Lana Jones and Daniel Gaudiello as well as Russian Guest Principals Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev were brilliant.  Every artist of The Australian Ballet made the most of every role in this colourful production which appeals to everyone.

Picture (right)

Natalia Osipova in Rudolf Nureyev’s Don Quixote.

Photography Lynette Wills.

(Courtesy of The Australian Ballet.)


Nutramedics Display – March 2013

Members who attended really enjoyed this event and the Ballet Society is most appreciative of the gift of this presentation.


Emma Lippa at ‘Cranlana’ – April 2013

This occasion fulfilled everyone’s expectations and was a treat in every way with a beautiful venue and ambiance, good food and wine and some wonderful music.  Emma is an extraordinary pianist renowned in the ballet world. She was chief accompanist for the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow for decades until she was invited to join The Australian Ballet.  Emma chose music that was not necessarily written for ballet or dance but was adapted and used most successfully for many ballets.  Played by Emma on the beautiful grand piano in the ‘special’ room at Cranlana, which was the former home of the Myer family,  the music touched the soul.  As an added joy we were entertained by Hilary Fridland, Soprano and a dear friend of Emma.  Members were honoured to be entertained by both of these artists.


Film at ‘Como’ – First Position – May 2013

Members thoroughly enjoyed this film about young dance students preparing for a ballet competition which could mean everything to their lives and their futures.  It was an absorbing film and had an added interest of seeing some of our own celebrities on the jury – Gailene Stock, AM  former Director of The Australian Ballet School and now Director of The Royal Ballet;  Marilyn Rowe, OBE Director of The Australian Ballet School and Leigh Rowles, Head of Student Training (L1-4) and Choreographer.  The afternoon tea was provided by Committee Members and everyone left Como very happy and relaxed.


Morning Melodies Studio Rehearsal – May 2013

This rehearsal by senior students of The Australian Ballet School was held just prior to the two performances given at Hamer Hall the following week.  A new classical, tutu work by Simon Dow Ballet de Cristal, a new work by Leigh Rowles Without plus Natalie Weir’s Jabula made up a most entertaining programme.  Performing in a studio means the dancers are very close to their audience and can be an extra challenge but it seems to bring out the best and our Members really enjoyed the performance.


Dress Rehearsals (2) Vanguard – June 2013

This was a magnificent programme of three works – The Four Temperaments (1946) by George Balanchine; Bella Figura (1995) by Jiri Kylian  and  Dyad 1929 (2009) by Wayne McGregor.   These are trail-blazing works which looked at the future of dance, bit the bullet and went for it, come what may.  The first two works have proven themselves over time and it will be interesting to watch what happens in the next ten years to the latter work which is hugely challenging for dancers and musicians as well.  The whole programme was a glorious mix of extraordinary dance and artistry accompanied by an equally great mix of music.  Thoroughly enjoyable.



Picture (Left)

(Courtesy of The Australian Ballet)

Andrew Killian,
Lana Jones and
Daniel Gaudiello

in Wayne McGregor’s
Dyad 1929.

Photography: Branco Gaica




Dress Rehearsal (1) Swan Lake (Graeme Murphy) – June 2013

It is five years since this stunning production was performed in Melbourne and there was a buzz of excitement from Society Members as they waited for the unique opening that only Graeme and his Creative Associate Janet Vernon could have imagined.  The concept for this production was a result of hours of thought and the theatre experience of Graeme, Janet and the late Kristian Fredrikson who was also the designer of sets and costumes. The choreography is in love with the wondrous, timeless music of Tchaikovsky and Orchestra Victoria under the baton of Nicolette Fraillon,  and the combination brought the audience to an emotional high which made the evening unforgettable.



Picture (Left)

(Courtesy of The Australian Ballet)

Andrew Killian,
Amy Harris and
Leanne Stojmenov

in Graeme Murphy’s
Swan Lake.

Photography: Jeff Busby



Leanne Stojmenov (Odette) and Andrew Killian (Prince Siegfried) and Amy Harris (Baroness von Rothbart) gave their roles real identity by their dancing and acting.  Both ladies showed their beautiful techniques and their bravery in meeting the challenges of the partnering which was handled with strength and grace by Andrew.  The whole Company make this Production a dramatic ballet play.  How wonderful it is that a story can be told so succinctly without words.  That’s what makes ballet so extraordinary!        

Josie Woodgate OAM
The Australian Ballet Society


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