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Welcome to our last newsletter for 2017 which marks the end of another busy year.
I must begin by acknowledging the beautiful performances of our students in Coppélia (photo above by Sergey Konstantinov), Haydn Symphony and The Ballet Class recently - they were danced with the most enthusiastic and vibrant energy, What a way to celebrate the end of your year!
To the artistic team - I am absolutely indebted to you all for you tireless commitment, patience and wealth of experience in preparing the students for these recent performances as well as their daily training. This year to that team we welcomed, Andrew Murphy and Sabrina Lenzi as Level 8M and Level 4F teachers respectively. I am so happy that you both have joined the ABS, bringing your extensive knowledge from Houston Ballet Academy, following on from your own successful
To all the teachers, musicians and the health and wellbeing team; thank you.
"We do not learn from experience…
With this quote in mind I would like to reflect on 2017 and look forward to 2018.
We are fortunate to have strong relationships with other top schools around the world and as such our students and staff enjoyed the opportunity for learning through teacher and student exchanges throughout the year. We have benefited from experiences with the Vaganova Academy, Shanghai National Ballet School, Het National Ballet School, National Ballet School of Canada and of course our participation in the prestigious event– Assemblée Internationale in Toronto. We will continue to build on our international connections next year when I will join the jury of the Adeline Genée, Youth America Grand Prix and the Prix de Lausanne. We will also participate in the Prix’s new choreographic initiative when two of our students will join with other partner school students in a choreographic experience working with Goyo Montero. This ballet will then be performed during the interlude at the finals of the competition. We have also accepted an invitation to perform in Tokyo in February and we will continue to further build our relationships with Beijing Dance Academy and Shanghai National Ballet School for student and staff exchanges in 2018. The diversity of cultural opportunities opens us up to new ways of thinking and learning, increases our international exposure and allows us to share our learning experiences with others too.
2017 has seen the School continue to deliver a world-class training and boarding programme and with the introduction of the Victorian Child Safe standards, as well we have undertaken important reviews of our policies and processes. In looking forward it is our aim to continue to grow and improve in all aspects of our organisation and reviewing our policies, ensuring we are in line with required standards; and in providing a place of safety and support, will continue to be a focus in 2018. We also this year undertook a complete review of our Eating Disorder Policy working closely with Dr Beth Shelton from Centre of Excellence in Eating Disorders. I would like to thank Philippa Ziegenhardt for her work with this and acknowledge and welcome Philippa who has re-joined us this year as Student Counsellor. Thank you for your support and caring for our student’s wellbeing. With your endless smiles and deep care for our student’s emotional wellbeing I feel most sure, under your leadership in this area, that we will continue to develop our services and support of our dancers while they are at our school. With that we are also excited to pilot a Family Support Programme next year. As you will be aware from our recent communication the programme is intended to provide an opportunity for respectful sharing of useful information, a forum to ask questions, offer concerns and support for yourselves as parents and your children. We look forward to being in touch with you about this in early 2018.
I have mentioned the recent weekend performances but we must not forget our Morning Melodies and Showcase Seasons and the exposure to
And our new creations included Paul Knobloch’s sensational Défilé (yes we will do it again next year as once was not enough!!!) and Lucas Jervies stunning new ballet Gorilla. Our congratulations also to Margaret Wilson and Simon Dow as the School’s Resident Choreographers for their beautiful new creations this year. Simon’s ballet The Call and Margaret’s Vitae. We are so lucky to have these two creatives (our very own) on our artistic staff. I feel very fortunate when asked by any creators to see an early run of a new ballet. I am always amazed and in awe of the choreographer’s ability to realise a dream and of course the students journey of collaboration and growth in that process. I also hope … that the students fully appreciate not only the chance to be able to rehearse and perform these works, but recognize that is the process of the creation and collaboration that is key to their learning.
To everyone involved choreographers, teachers, musicians and students; many congratulations! 2018 I hope looks equally exciting with new works by Simon and Maggie, and a Spanish work by Areti Boyaci, a few surprises and a few favourites as well. With the kind permission of David McAllister AM and The Australian Ballet we anticipate presenting for our end of year production… La Sylphide. I am thrilled that we will be able to present this full length ballet, never danced by the School before.
One of my key aims is to continue to expand our student’s creative influences and we do this through not only through the student’s daily training and our repertoire learning opportunities but also through their own creations. Throughout this year we seen some very high quality works through VCE Dance Units studies and student choreography and this year’s Public Access Day included a much longer Choreographic Display. In 2018 we look forward to continuing to provide student opportunities for nurturing this creativity. Our Early Learning, Open Boys, Extension and ITP programmes continue to inspire young students and allow us the chance to share our expertise with the broader community, as do our Open Masterclasses, Summer and Winter Schools and our International Intensive.
Students have not only been busy in the studios but also in the classrooms - and so I take this opportunity to thank VCASS as our academic provider and all our specialist teachers including Psychology, Nutrition, Anatomy, Music, EAL and our Connecting with School Community programme. The School is committed to preparing students for life-long learning and a career after dance. Some students may decide to pursue an academic pathway after graduation, and/or after a career in dance. The well-rounded education programme delivered by the school provides various pathways, with the integration of dance and academic studies being integral to the development of students as a ‘whole person’ and not just a dancer. We strongly encourage all our students to remain focused on their academic education, during their time at the School. Congratulations to all our students this year in your academic achievements and best wishes to those waiting their Year 10 and VCE English exam results.
To Sandra and all the boarding staff, headed by Steve McKee this year, thank you for your expertise in making our second year run as successfully as it has at Marilyn Rowe House. We are excited to welcome Benita Bowles as our new Head of Boarding in 2018 and we look forward to her expertise in continuing to provide a boarding programme that continues to build in its reputation. To Steve, we wish you the greatest of success in your new chosen pathway. Please keep in touch with us.
Another event in our yearly calendar is of course our House Day and this year we held our celebrations at Marilyn Rowe House. Congratulations to all the Creative Cheers which is always a highlight for the students and staff and through these cheers we get to learn just a little bit more about each student.
Thank you to our School Captains, Sara and Matthew, and all school leaders. You have been wonderful and amongst other events, organised our free leotard days this year , raising funds for the Heart Foundation, The Royal Children’s Hospital and the Starlight Foundation. I understand from the recent leadership interviews that we can look forward to few more free leotard days next year to raise funds for a new fridge for the student common room.
I would like to take this opportunity to formally acknowledge the many wonderful people who make up our organisation. To our Chair Leigh Johns OAM - congratulations to you on your well-deserve Order of Australia Medal received this year and my deepest thanks to you and all the Board Directors for your support and trust in me this year. Special thanks to Sandra Ball for her leadership and support and to my EA, Marijke, without whom I would not manage as I do. To the entire administration team under Sandra’s leadership, Development, Marketing and Communications, the artistic teachers, musicians, the teacher training department, health team, production and wardrobe; it is a truly a team effort and I feel privileged to be able to work with so many inspirational and passionate individuals.
I would like also to most sincerely acknowledge each and every friend and supporter of the School – All that you do makes an enormous difference to us –and so from all our us, our most heartfelt thanks.
This is also the time of year when we say goodbye to students who are leaving our school - we wish you all the very best for your new pathways and adventures. To all students I wish to congratulate you on your personal and individual progress and achievement this year and please never stop learning – Life is a Giant Classroom!!!
Finally to the L8 graduates of 2017 on behalf of us all, I wish you great happiness and big chookas as you embark upon your next pathway. I am thrilled with what I have witnessed of you this year. This is the culmination of your hard work, combined with your passion and dedication for this art from. We hope that you will fondly look back on your time at the School and aside from all the niggles, highs and lows, that are part of this vocation, that you recognize the wonderful education and support of all the staff who have loved and taught you over so many years. Please keep in touch with us as alumni of the School as you are the memories of the fabric of this…
From all of us at the School, may I wish you all a joyous Christmas,
Lisa Pavane, Director of The Australian Ballet School
FROM THE CHAIR
Here at the Australian Ballet School we produce dancers of the highest calibre for our parent company, The Australian Ballet, state companies and leading dance companies around the world. Our graduates are in high demand, as distinctive dancers, choreographers and artistic directors. It has been thus for more than 50 years.
The program of works performed has remained dynamic, and responded to the increasing sophistication of technical, artistic and educational standards. These opportunities to showcase the talent of the school of the Australian Ballet are an important part of our role as a national institution.
From a financial perspective the School finishes the year in very good order. We will post a modest surplus thanks the skilled work of our General Manager, Sandra Ball and Accountant, Mona Pit. The School could not operate without good governance and proper financial support.
To this end on behalf of the Board I acknowledge the essential partnership we have with The Australian Ballet and in particular with their Artistic Director David McAllister AM, Executive Director Libby Christie
I thank all our donors under the leadership of Brind Zichy-Woinarski QC as Chair of the Philanthropy Committee and Debra Adamidis. Without that essential support we could not operate. It is also especially important to students who receive bursaries.
Thank you also to our sponsors, including; Bloch, The Friends of the Australian Ballet in NSW, Friends of the Australian Ballet in SA, Eye Clarity, Mantra, Sofitel Sydney, EY, Allens, Worklogic, Fred and Ginger catering, Flowers Vassette and the Ballet Society.
As you will all know, this year has been touched by great sadness with the passing of our dear friend Betty Amsden AO DSJ. Betty was associated with many organisations, but none so fondly as the School. It is with profound regret that we lost a national philanthropic leader. She really was an arts-angle. We were blessed to have had Betty in our lives and in the service of the School. Betty left a truly amazing legacy that will live on in our hearts and memories, especially when we visit the Betty Amsden Wing of Marilyn Rowe House which she supported during her life and to which she endowed a continuing maintenance fund.
It is appropriate that this stage then that I should also acknowledge and thank Steve McKee, who was our founding Head of Boarding, but who has decided on an alternative career path for 2018. Thank you for all that you did to make Marilyn Rowe House not only operationally successful, but also a wonderful home. I had the pleasure of attending there for dinner this year with the boarders and it could not have been a more welcoming environment. Noting that Marilyn Rowe House is now near capacity, at its Planning Day meeting yesterday, the Board signed off on renovations that will increase the maximum capacity of Marilyn Rowe House, but also, importantly, allow us some redesign and reconfiguration of the more populated rooms.
On behalf of the Board I thank all the staff who have given so tirelessly of their expertise to ensure the maintenance of the School's remarkable international reputation. Whether you are employed in student training, strength & conditioning, vocational graduate teacher training, music, student health and welfare, boarding, academics, administration, finance, development or are a part of our wonderfully welcoming front office staff you play an essential role in our success.
I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge our graduating Level 8 Students and congratulate them on a brilliant year. It’s been an amazing journey.
Leigh Johns OAM, Chair of The Australian Ballet School
Photo above by Sergey Konstantinov: (left to right) Robin Campbell, Sarah Matheson,
Our end of year performances of Coppélia were a great success and we would
"The mime captured by the 2017 dancers of
"Australian Ballet Artistic Director David McAllister AM
"The Australian Ballet School confidently demonstrates
"Bravo to all the dancers in Saturday night's
Photos above by Sergey Konstantinov
GRADUATION & AWARDS
We salute your support of the School this year; gifts from donors, Patrons, and our corporate sponsors broke our fundraising records to reach a total of $1.1 million. With two-thirds of our annual funding derived from non-government sources, this is an incredible achievement. Thank you for keeping us at the forefront of dance education, nationally and internationally. We have exciting plans for 2018, with some delightful surprises in store, and we cannot wait to unveil them to you early next year. Our warmest wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year of dreaming big.
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