COVID-19 Update

In view of the NSW Government’s directive that all non-essential gatherings of 500 people or more are banned between March 16th 2020 until June 14th 2020, The Australian Ballet will not proceed with its performances of Volt (3 – 22 April 2020) and Anna Karenina (30 April – 18 May 2020) at Sydney Opera House. We, therefore, regret to announce that all Friends of The Australian Ballet events have been cancelled until further notice.

While this is extremely disappointing to us all, we hope you will understand that the health and safety of our members is our top priority.

However, as we are a small not-for-profit organisation, this decision has greatly affected the ongoing operations of The Friends of The Australian Ballet.  Our main source of income is derived from our dress rehearsal ticket sales and your ongoing support. We are currently working with our board to review our operations to ensure we can continue to share our love and joy of ballet with you well into the future.

If you have purchased tickets to attend any of our future events, including Volt, Anna Karenina, Meet the New Dancers, and Friends in Conversation with Chris Yates, we will be contacting all ticket holders separately and will offer the following options:

  • Donate your ticket purchase to The Friends of The Australian Ballet
  • Keep a credit for a future performance
  • A full refund of the ticket value

The Friends has always relied on the generous support of our members. If you are able, we ask you to consider donating your ticket purchase so we can continue to provide unique events and experiences to our dedicated community of ballet lovers well into the future.

If you select a credit, exchange or a refund, we will aim to process your request within 10 business days.

Please refrain from calling our office due to high demand and staff working from home.

Please contact us through admin@fab.org.au and we will be posting regular updates on social media (Facebook and Instagram) as well as www.fab.org.au

We thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.

With kind regards,

The Office of The Friends of The Australian Ballet

David Hallberg, the next Artistic Director.

David Hallberg, the next Artistic Director.

As we all have heard by now, Mr. David Hallberg will be succeeding David McAllister as Artistic Director of the Australian Ballet in 2021. Hallberg has had a long and intimate relationship with the company, so it comes as no surprise that we are thrilled to hear that The Ballet will be left in such capable hands!

However, when it comes down to it, as Hallberg made his name across the pond in the US, some of our members may need a quick crash course on all things Hallberg!

“I am thrilled for the future of this company, a company that inspires me with its level of excellence and global standard. I look forward to using the experience I’ve garnered over my 20-year career around the world and funnelling it into the culture of The Australian Ballet. The future looks very bright for this world class company.” ~ David Hallberg

Number One:

How did Hallberg rise up?

 

Inspired to dance by a Fred Astaire film in his childhood, Hallberg joined the American Ballet Theatre in 2000, joining the corps de ballet in 2001. His talent was clearly noted as within five years he was promoted to Principal Artist. From this starting point, he became a resident guest artist with an eclectic mix of countries, from the Paris Opera Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, and of course, The Australian Ballet. In 2011, he became the first American Principal Dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet. He is also a Principal Guest Artist with both the Australian Ballet and the Royal Ballet in London.

Number Two:

Why The Australian Ballet?

 

Hallberg has had a long history with The Australian Ballet throughout his career, including a long period of residence as he recovered for two years from injury. He has been a regular guest artist with the Australian Ballet for over 10 years and appreciates the sense of inclusivity he feels when he returns to Australia.

Since the beginning, he has always aspired to direct a company, however, he reported to the NY Times that he has “felt satiated on a certain level as a dancer,” and is ready to transition forward with a company he is deeply connected with.

 

Number Three:

Where will he take our company?

 

The big question. From McAllister, we have seen an era of stability and international growth, but where to from now? Hallberg reports he will be very focused on curating innovative ideas and nurturing a positive environment for dancer growth and training. He thrives on spectating different cultures and training regimes, so we have no doubt he will transform our company to new levels of ability.

Although his programming intentions are kept securely under lock and key, Hallberg has brainstormed certain names and choreographers he thinks should visit and debut down-under. I think we can expect that under his directorship, The Australian Ballet will be increasingly thrusted into the limelight of the global ballet arena.

 

However, the beauty of the Ballet is that it is not made up by any one person. It is a team, a Company, and Hallberg reported to the New York times that “Come January 2021, it won’t be about me anymore; it will be about this institution and its dancers.”

 

Here’s to the next era of The Australian Ballet.

 

A Pivotal Year of Ballet.

A Pivotal Year of Ballet.

It may be halfway through February, but as the 2020 season has not yet begun, we’d like to wish our readers a Happy New Year!

As we leave behind the beautiful 2019 Year of Enchantment, we cannot wait to announce some new happenings in this little joint!

David McAllister – Courtesy of Aus. Ballet

First off, as most of our members would know, this Year of Limitless Possibilities also doubles as David McAllister’s final year as Artistic Director of the Company. After two decades of brilliant service, we are sure David’s departure will be in the forefront of all Australian Ballet proceedings this season. If you’ve received our newsletter, you may remember that on Wednesday 18th of November we will be holding a Farewell Lunch for David. If you’re interested in meeting David at one of his last events as Artistic Director, make sure to pencil in that date and we promise to keep you posted.

Australian Ballet Company – Courtesy of the Aus. Ballet.

Focusing on the Friends now, we are thrilled to announce our new series, ‘Friends in Conversation,’ where we bring a special guest to talk about their area of expertise within the ballet world. Last year, many of our members asked for more talks and conversation with ballet folk, so we’ve decided to launch this new series in 2020. Kicking the series off, this week, Executive Director Libby Christie will divulge in the operations and logistics of the Australian Ballet. The Australian Ballet can only survive with someone running the business committee, and to understand how the company has survived through the ages, you’ll have to ask Libby yourself. However, if you can’t make it this Thursday, next week we will begin selling tickets to our next conversation with the Director of Production and Planning, Chris Yates on the 16th April.

As usual, we are holding our Meet the New Dancers 2020’ event this year on the 31st of March at the Royal Automobile Club of Australia. Nine talented dancers have been inducted into the company this year, all coming from our own Australian Ballet School. Most notably, the recipient of the Friends of the Australian Ballet 2019 Annual Scholarship, Belle Urwin, was inducted to be apart of the 2020 Australian Ballet Company! This scholarship is awarded to a NSW dancer to assist them in their final year of training at the Australian Ballet School. Congrats to all nine dancers, we are all so excited to see you on stage soon!

The 2020 shows; Volt, Anna Karenina, Molto, The Happy Prince and Harlequinade, are now just on the horizons. We’ll be sure to keep you posted on all our social media (Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn) as well as on here to make sure our Friends are all set for a Year of Limitless Possibilities. To find out more about the season, check out our previous blog posts to get a brief overview of the season!

Q+A with Alexander Phoon

If you were at the dress rehearsal for The Australian Ballet’s production of Sylvia you might have noticed a few guest artists on stage – and we’re not just talking about Misty Copeland. Alexander Phoon, a young dance student, was cast as one of the adorable, scene-stealing cherubs. Alexander, and his mum Catherine, are both members of the Friends and we are beyond thrilled that we got to see him on stage with The Australian Ballet for the first time.

We asked Alexander a few questions about ballet and how he got involved with Sylvia.

When did you start dancing and where do you currently learn?

I started dance at the age of eight and I currently dance at The McDonald College.

What made you want to start dancing? Why do you love it?

I started dancing because I have always been inspired by performing arts, although after watching The Australian Ballet I immediately knew that one day I would be a ballet dancer.

How did you get involved with Sylvia and The Australian Ballet?

Through The McDonald College – I was lucky enough to be able to apply for the show and the next day I was informed that I had successfully been accepted.

How long were you rehearsing for Sylvia?

I was rehearsing for Sylvia for around just a week.

What is your favourite part of Sylvia? Is there a particular dance or movement you love? And favourite character?

My favourite part of Sylvia is the feeling when get to go on stage and the experience of being able to work alongside the company. My favourite character would have to be Eros as he does an amazing solo and is a very energetic character.

Who’s your male principle dancer with The Australian Ballet?

My favourite male dancer in the company is definitely Chengwu Guo because of his outstanding athleticism, ability and determination.

 What’s your favourite ballet and why?

My all time favourite ballet is definitely Alices’ Adventures in Wonderland by Christopher Wheeldon as it has a lot of excitement and interesting characters. The choreography for the ballet is amazing too.

Season 2020

Season 2020

As 2019 draws to a close, we are looking to 2020 and are thrilled to be sharing The Australian Ballet’s Year of Limitless Possibilities with our Friends.

The launch of the 2020 Season has formed a clear promise from The Australian Ballet; a promise to transform and transcend any creative or artistic boundaries and we are happy to accompany you as we explore this transformative season. The season is an ode to the fantastic service of David McAllister, but also a confirmation that the company shows no sign of slowing down.

The Australian Ballet has grown immensely under David’s leadership, with the 2020 season featuring strong collaborations with international companies such as the Joffrey Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre in the performances of Anna Karenina and Harlequinade.

Anna Karenina pushes the traditional format for ballets, becoming an epic ballad of love, drama and loss. The company has pushed the envelope with modernized Hollywood-style costumes and mesmerizing choreography created by former Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer, Yuri Possokhov.

Anna Karenina, photo Justin Ridler

In an all-exclusive Melbourne run, Harlequinade will bring plenty of colour and fun to our Australian stages in the 2020 season. This cheeky, bubbly ballet is a classic story of forbidden love, with a twist of mischief and magic as Harlequin fights with an enchanted slap stick for Columbine’s hand in marriage.

Harlequinade, photo Justin Ridler

Volt will have The Company broadcasting their innovation and artistic voice. Alongside two works from the visionary Wayne McGregor, this program features a new work from The Australian Ballet’s Alice Topp, who delighted us this year with the Helpmann Award-winning Aurum. McGregor and Topp will see Volt light up a new style of expression and push all notions of how dance should be to the edge.

Volt, photo Justin Ridler

Molto revives a trio of the most bold and adventurous performances from the last 50 years, satisfying all your needs and desires from a quick trip to the ballet. In a crash-course performance of recent greats, Molto celebrates the successes of the modern ballet world, sparking excitement for the future of dance.

Molto, photo Justin Ridler

David’s tenure as Artistic Director began by commissioning Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake, and it seems fitting that The Happy Prince, Murphy’s new ballet, will open David’s final season in 2020. The international premiere of The Happy Prince has placed our Opera House at the center of global attention, proving that our company has once again, soared over our expectations in this year of Limitless Possibilities.

The Happy Prince, photo Justin Ridler

Like always, we will keep you updated with all details throughout the season. Join us in a pivotal year at The Australian Ballet, as we relish on our past successes and turn towards a bright future.