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Australian Ballet celebrates 50 years

Australian Ballet celebrates 50 years
November 15, 2012

The Australian Ballet has celebrated its 50th anniversary with a series of five gala performances at Melbourne's Arts Centre.

Guest dancers from companies including the Paris Opera Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Bolshoi Ballet were part of the performances, one of which was broadcast live across Australia.

Australian Ballet Artistic Director David McAllister is excited by the company's anniversary celebrations, stating "it's been a huge year and I think with the international guests and (with the) whole sense of occasion about the actual 50th anniversary ... everyone's pulling out all the stops.

"It's a wonderful repertoire from the classics, some beautiful contemporary pas de deux and really a great celebration of ballet."

The American Ballet Theatre's principal artist Julie Kent was thrilled to be invited to perform, adding "it has really been a lifelong dream of mine to appear as a guest with the Australian Ballet and I was beginning to think it might not happen and so when I received the invitation to participate in not just any performance, but the 50th anniversary of this great institution, I was just absolutely delighted."

Over its 50 years, the Australian Ballet has grown in size and reputation and is now one of the world's most respected companies.

McAllister says Australia's relative isolation has served the company well, concluding "we've been really lucky that from the beginning of the company, we've been pushed out into the world and I think that was great because it made us benchmark ourselves, not just with being the biggest ballet company in Australia but being on the world stage.

"So we had to actually stand up next to those big companies like the Bolshoi and the Royal Ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet."

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Image: The Australian Ballet's 2010 tour of Japan.


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