A FUN FAB NIGHT IN: CHRISTMAS WITH FRIENDS
Special presentation, joyful conversation, exceptional guests and prizes
Wednesday 1 December 5:30pm-6:30pm | Online
To welcome the Christmas season, please join us for a jolly evening from the comfort of your own home!
Hosted by Friends President Greg Khoury, Deputy Chair Bruce Pollack, and Member Gayle Wakling-Taylor, with incredibly special guests Lisa Pavane (Director of The Australian Ballet School), Liz Toohey and Steven Heathcote (Artistic Staff of The Australian Ballet), as well as some of our treasured volunteers!
To start off the night, The Friends will gift a scholarship to an upcoming star at The Australian Ballet School. The Friends of The Australian Ballet NSW Scholarship is a $10,000 payment to The Australian Ballet School to cover the cost of 12 months tuition for a NSW student. The successful recipient is selected for their exemplary hard-work and commitment to pursing a professional career in Ballet.
After a few more surprises, and viewing the best short clips of ballet from the last year, we will be conducting a competition for Best Dressed and Best Christmas Cocktail!
CHRISTMAS CHEER COMPETITION
There will be awards presented to attendees on the night, with the following prizes on offer:
> A double pass to Palace Verona’s screening of The Nutcracker
> Signed copy of Soar by David McAllister AC
> A bag full of Friends merchandise and ballet goodies!
> Signed pointe shoes by members of the company
To Enter BEST DRESSED:
Come to the party dressed in your fancy or funny Christmas finery to be in the running
To Enter BEST CHRISTMAS COCKTAIL:
Send in your favourite recipe to firstname.lastname@example.org for us to try out and consume on the night!
Celebrate Christmas with Friends
This event is free for all members and non-members to attend.
We hope you can join us. Secure your spot!
Event access details will be provided upon RSVP.
This virtual event will commence at 5:30pm Wednesday 1 December. A reminder email will be sent two hours prior to the event starting.
Celebration Gala Final Dress Rehearsal
SENIOR STARS SHINE IN A RANGE OF PAS DE DEUX
The final dress rehearsal for the Celebration Gala, featuring grand classical showpieces, thrilling contemporary excerpts, perennial favourites and more, will be on Wednesday 24 November, 7pm at Sydney Opera House.
The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director, David Hallberg, has curated this exhilarating celebration of his dancers’ artistry and commitment to maintaining the highest standards over the past 18 months.
The Sydney program will feature excerpts from classical favourites such as Swan Lake, The Merry Widow, Anna Karenina and The Nutcracker; lovers of modern work will revel in contemporary pas de deux from revered 20th-century choreographer Kenneth MacMillan, British wunderkind Wayne McGregor and the company’s resident choreographer, Alice Topp.
The Celebration Gala program:
Pas de deux from CONCERTO
CLAY (excerpt from LOGOS)
White Swan Pas de deux from SWAN LAKE
Black Swan Pas de deux from SWAN LAKE
Pas de deux from Act II of ANNA KARENINA
Pas de deux from CHROMA
Pas de deux from Act II of THE MERRY WIDOW
Pas de deux from AFTER THE RAIN©
Pas de deux from Act II of THE NUTCRACKER
Tickets for the final dress rehearsal of The Australian Ballet’s Celebration Gala, are on sale now!
IN ACCORDANCE WITH GOVERNMENT RESTRICTIONS proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or valid medical exemption will be required for anyone over the age of sixteen to attend this dress rehearsal.
It is our great pleasure to invite all Friends of The Australian Ballet members and followers, to join us at our next live and online event. Hosted by Friends President Greg Khoury and featuring special guest Alice Topp – one of Australia’s most exciting and acclaimed young choreographers.
Alice will talk us through her creative process in developing her choreography, and how she is pushing our idea of what ballet is through her upcoming initiative Project Animo.
Monday 25th October | Online
5-6pm Discussion and Q&A
Born and raised in Bendigo, Alice started dancing at the age of four. After two years dancing with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, she joined The Australian Ballet as a dancer in 2007, where her choreographic identity first emerged. Her first work, Trace, was created for The Australian Ballet’s 2010 season of its choreographic showcase ‘Bodytorque’. Between 2011 and 2014, Alice would go on to create three more works for Bodytorque, refining her craft and gaining the attention of critics and company directors alike. In 2016, Alice choreographed the critically acclaimed work Little Atlas, which appeared on The Australian Ballet’s mainstage ‘Symphony in C’ program in 2016 and 2017.
In 2018, Alice created her first mainstage one act work Aurum, which premiered as part of the company’s ‘Verve’ program, and went on to its international debut the following year at New York’s leading contemporary dance venue, The Joyce Theater. In 2018, Alice was appointed one of The Australian Ballet’s Resident Choreographers. In 2019, she was invited to spend a month with Studio Wayne McGregor in the United Kingdom, creating a piece for The Grange Festival. The duet she created on the company, Clay, went on to form the basis for a larger work titled Logos for The Australian Ballet’s 2020 ‘Volt’ program, which included two works by McGregor.
Alice has been nominated for a Green Room Award (Little Atlas, 2017) and for three Australian Dance Awards (Aurum, 2018, Same Vein, 2014, Trace, 2010). In 2019, Aurum saw Alice and her creative team win the Helpmann Award for Best Ballet, and a nomination for an Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography. She has choreographed music videos for artists including Megan Washington, LANKS and Ben Folds, and has been invited to create works for Houston Ballet II and Queensland Ballet.
Most recently, Alice has co-founded Project Animo, which brings together a collective of independent artistic voices and talent from across Australia’s dance landscape. As creative director, she is collaborating with other beloved Australian Ballet alumni such as Deborah Brown, Madeleine Eastoe, Rudy Hawkes, Andrew Killian, Leanne Stojmenov.
RSVP by midday Monday 25th October | Places are limited
This online event is free for members and $5 for non-members
Event access details will be provided upon RSVP.
Express Class + Q&A
The Friends admire Ballet Brothers and their mission to support and encourage males who love to dance, so it is our great pleasure to host our next live and online event in partnership with Ballet Brothers.
Young male dancers are invited to join Jake Burden (founder of Ballet Brothers) in an express 30min class, followed by a Q&A session which parents can also attend.
This event is especially tailored for young male dancers who wish to be set up for success in their pursuit of a successful professional ballet career! It is also an opportunity to shine a light on the mental health of males in dance this Mental Health Month.
This online event is free for 30 lucky participants, and any non-members who sign up will receive a complimentary membership with The Friends.
With expert guidance from Jake, and access to a community of like-minded Ballet Brothers, the next gen of male dancer’s dreams will inch closer to becoming a reality.
Places are limited, so be sure to reserve your spot soon!
This virtual event is free for Friends members and for non-members.
Image courtesy of Ballet Brothers. Photo by Pure Dynamics Photography
Leanne as Manon, with Steven McRae as des Grieux in Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon at the Royal Ballet. Photo Johan Persson
Due to be released in October, this autobiography by Leanne Benjamin with Sarah Crompton reveals the extraordinary life and career of one of the world’s most important ballet dancers of the past 50 years.
The book will take you behind the scenes to find a real understanding of the pleasure and the pain, the demands and the intense commitment it requires to become a ballet dancer.
‘She’s astonishing, very, very talented. She has a lovely line and all that, but she
brings out the dramatic qualities in the music too.’
— Kenneth MacMillan
‘It’s the uniqueness of the Royal Ballet ballerina Leanne Benjamin that tomorrow
night at Covent Garden, aged nearly 49, she will be playing a sex-mad teenager, and
no one will have the slightest difficulty believing it. Then she’ll retire. Not for her a
soft swoop into long dresses and matronly gestures, easing decorously into the sunset,
but an all-out assault on physical and emotional extremes that is typical of the
career of this tiny stick of dynamite from the Australian outback.’
— Ismene Brown theartsdesk.com, 2013
Grab your copy from Melbourne Books