FAB in Focus – Bruce Pollack AM

FAB in Focus – Bruce Pollack AM

We recently asked unstoppable arts and theatre publicist Bruce Pollack to answer five fun facts for FAB. Enjoy reading about his involvement in The Friends and the hold ballet has on his heart.

What is your name and role at FAB?
Bruce Pollack Deputy Chair, Friends of the Australian Ballet

How long have you been involved with FAB?
I joined in 2006

 What is your earliest ballet memory?
I grew up in a house that we used an old wind up gramophone to listen to records.  We used that machine until we got an electric. My favourite recordings, old 78rpm’s, was a set of 8 records of highlights from Swan Lake.  I can still sing this music as I knew it so well. The Australian Ballet did not exist when I was a child, but I do remember being taken to see a ballet, no idea which one.  My greatest ballet memory is seeing Fonteyn and Nureyev perform Swan Lake in Melbourne

 

Bruce Pollack posing with toilet rolls

Bruce Pollack preparing for COVID-19 and stocking up

Why is FAB important to you?
I have worked in the theatre from the age of 10 and I am happy that I have received a pay packet from the arts ever since.  Working in the theatre I see as much on stage as I possibly can, and I see many ballet performances.  In the 1970’s for 4 years I was the Drama Teacher at the Australian Ballet School.  I love being a part of a Committee for not for profit arts organisations.  They are essential for our way of life and imperative for maintaining a level of “culture” in our community.  This is the 4th arts board that I have been on.

 

What are you doing to stay connected to ballet & dance at this time?
I look at every possible ballet link that I can get my hands on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Header image
Bruce Pollack and other members of The Friend’s council presenting David McAllister with an oversized cheque in 2008

Friends in Conversation – Libby Christie

Friends in Conversation – Libby Christie

We are excited to introduce Friends in Conversation, a series of talks for 2020, our first being with Libby Christie, Executive Director of The Australian Ballet.

Libby will provide insight into the funding, costs, logistics and operations of how the Company, along with its strategic aspirations, providing you with a true behind-the-scenes experience of The Australian Ballet.

About Libby
Libby was appointed as Executive Director of The Australian Ballet in 2013.  Prior to this appointment she had eleven years’ experience in Australia’s arts sector, including with the Australian Government’s arts funding and advocacy body, the Australia Council for the Arts (2009 – 2013) as acting CEO and Executive Director of Arts Funding, and as the Managing Director of the Sydney Symphony (2003 – 2009).  Before joining the arts sector, Libby held senior national and international executive roles in the technology and telecommunications sector in companies including Optus, Telstra, TMP Worldwide and Computer Power Group.  She has also worked in Australia’s tertiary education sector in the field of adult education.

Libby has current and prior experience as a non-executive director on not for profit and for profit boards.  She is a graduate of Sydney University and the University of Canberra and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Join us to hear Libby Christie provide a rare behind the scenes glimpse of the operations and logistics of The Australian Ballet.

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How does a moment last forever? Our Pre-Performance Sylvia Talk with Sculptor Linda Klarfeld.

How does a moment last forever? Our Pre-Performance Sylvia Talk with Sculptor Linda Klarfeld.

As audience members, we usually gawk at a dancer’s consecutive turns and flying leaps, but from the perspective of sculptor Linda Klarfeld, it is the intricate and fast-moving positions of a dancer that she wishes to immortalise in bronze. Before our Sylvia Dress Rehearsal performance, we were honoured to have Linda Klarfield, a celebrated Australian sculptor to talk about how she intertwined her artistic gifts and her admiration of ballet in her 6 dance-inspired bronze sculptures. In this talk, her sculptures were brought to life by two talented young students from Allegria Dance Studio.

Her talk detailed her tedious process of sculpting and modelling, of her obsessive observation with the placing of an index finger, or the positioning of a hip bone. Her artworks capture positions that are impossible to hold, as Linda described that her bronze sculptures will stay ‘en pointe’ for 2000 years. As she was never a professional dancer, she leaned on the technical eye of David McAllister and Robert Albert to critique and examine her plasticine sculptures before casting them in rubber/plaster moulds. Using these moulds, she would cast the sculptures in wax and detail any imperfections. At one point, she recalled she had been so obsessive in perfecting the detailing of the hands and materials, she had overlooked that she had cast a dancer with (literally) two left feet. After creating a ceramic mould with the wax sculptures, she would melt out the wax and pour in the bronze.

Bronze is characterized by permanence and strength; hence, Linda relies on it to hold impossible poses with impeccable balance. In her statue of the pas de deux from Giselle, she highlights how her greatest challenge was locating the position’s centre of gravity. In this statue, the ballerina is not yet at the top of her lift, and Linda explains that she located the centre of gravity as being slightly off-centre, as the two dancers pull up and away from each other to maintain balance. We have all seen these lifts in arabesque, with the risen leg stretching through a 90-degree angle, however, the eye always misses the moments before the picture. Linda’s sculptures make that moment tangible to help incite a feeling of excitement about what is about to happen, to bring the sculptures to life in what feels like a real-life pas de deux.

 

This whole process would take around 6 months for every sculpture, however, in every finished result, you can clearly see the admiration and dedication Linda has for her dancers and her art. We thank her for sharing her unique insight into the world of sculpting and ballet with our members, and commend her on her beautiful artworks.

 

Sculptor Linda Klarfeld

 

All photos were taken by Lexy Potts.