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2015 Graduate Saranja Crowe
Since graduating from the School in 2015 I have had so many amazing opportunities and experiences. I performed with The Australian Ballet in their first season of Storytime Ballet dancing the roles of Grace and the Lilac Fairy, and also joined them for the second season through April and March.
After a successful overseas trip I received a short-term contract with English National Ballet to perform Swan Lake in the Round at Royal Albert Hall in London. This was my first overseas trip on my own, I was feeling lots of emotions but I knew this experience was going to be one I would never forget. It was a 6 weeks contract and we rehearsed for four of those weeks. It was amazing to work with so many company members. Derek Dean’s Swan Lake is so much about patterns and the rehearsal period was intense, repetition was the key and what made the ballet so mesmerizing to watch. The two-week performance period was incredible, Royal Albert Hall is such an amazing space to perform in; the audience surrounds you and the feeling is indescribable. Being able to watch night after night different principals take on the role of Odette and Odile and how they interpreted the characters, how each one danced the roles so differently, it really opened my eyes and reminded me how movement and artistry can really capture the mood or story you are telling.
ARTS8 TRANSFORMATION Project in Sydney
Level 7 Students Maggie and Pol recently participated in the inaugural ARTS8 Transformation Project escorted by Classical Teacher and Choreographer, Simon Dow.
The ARTS8 project was a collaboration between the eight leading performing arts education organisations in Australia. The group of 16 students included actors, scriptwriters, set, costume and prop designers, filmmakers, musicians, composers, circus artists and dancers. During three days, the students, along with two mentors were left to create and collaborate in a room as the teachers all sat down and discussed, all within the theme of Transformation.
The experience has been extraordinary, to say the least. What stood out to us the most was witnessing how much art is capable of. The group clicked so well which created an atmosphere that allowed us all to be open minded and willing to explore. We learned so much from seeing artists in other disciplines, seeing how similar we are taught us a lot about ourselves. Regardless of what we do, we all hold the power and passion to move and transform others as well as ourselves. We are really grateful for this opportunity and we wish that this programme continues in the future.
by Simon Dow
The ‘outcome’ of the creative process was a work mostly improvised within a loose structure of approximately 20 minutes in length. The process had been behind closed doors so what we were shown was a total surprise. It was deeply moving on so many levels as young people crossed lines from dance through acting through music and mime to brilliant design moments to surprising reveals and beautiful honest dance movement. We were simply blown away by the creative ways in which they engaged each other through their varied methods bringing together a glimpse of humanity at its most gentle and connected while also showing moments of strength and even violence. The melding of spoken word, song, dance, instrumentation, visual, physical theatre and play, was so beautifully honest that the mentors were left virtually speechless. We then did manage to share our impressions and to give them a sense of how powerful such collaboration can be. These young artists emerged changed from this experience and our two young dancers were glowing and radiant afterwards.
International Exchange Programme
Each year, The Australian Ballet School conducts an International Exchange Programme with Canada’s National Ballet School. Recently four Canadian students (pictured above: L-R QingLin Liu, Emily Murray, Quinn Roy, Christopher Krofchak) spent three weeks training at our School. They had such a wonderful time they did not want to leave, however, Maree Strachan, ABS Exchange Programme Coordinator, put them safely on a plane.
Earlier this year ABS students Tyson Powell, Elise Foster and Daniel Idaszak and Yuumi Yamada were lucky to have the opportunity to spend four weeks training in Canada. Participation in the Exchange Programme is a valuable experience that enriches the student’s individual growth and learning personally and artistically. Click the Pinterest button below to see a photo.
Level 3 Creative Dance
At the end of last term in Creative Dance our Level 3 community choreographed a dance about the changing seasons. It was a great opportunity to work closely together with other Level 3 students and combine our thoughts and ideas to produce a dance that artistically represented the unique beauty of the different seasons (and Melbourne’s weather) and observe how the impermanence and fragility of nature means that seasonal beauty is doomed to fade. It was quite a challenge to try and represent the impermanence of nature and recognize how beauty is closely linked to the passage of time and that this fleeting display of expression needs to be appreciated with the knowledge of immanent disappearance. For example the rush of daffodils in spring, a magnificent cluster of stars on a crisp winter evening, the blaze of sunshine on a sweltering summer day bringing a glistening heat haze and a wondrous pile of colourful autumn leaves fluttering in the breeze creating their own choreography.
So the artistic challenge in front of us was to try and display some of nature’s beauty, unpredictability and changefulness through creative dance and mime. We worked well together and respected each other’s thoughts and ideas creating a dance we were proud of. We embraced artistry to try to be authentic when projecting our story to the audience so that they might have a visceral reaction to the tale told. When I watch dance if I feel it emotionally or have a physical reaction to the story being told I always appreciate the journey more.
The talented Mr McNeil (above) created a beautiful piece of music that perfectly complemented each of the seasons and inspired us to create unique choreography. I feel very grateful and fortunate that we have such talented pianists to play for us on a daily basis which encourages us to dance with artistic sensitivity.
I have really enjoyed creative this year because it gives us an opportunity to express ourselves through different movements and it also lets us explore the music and develop our choreographic ability.
We have been thrilled and sincerely grateful for the amazing response from all our friends to our 2016 Annual Appeal. We thought last year was remarkable but this year has really shown just how much support there is for The Australian Ballet School. Our records has been smashed, with over $140,000 raised to support our students. Thank you for playing such a special part in helping us provide holistic and 24-hour care, safety and security to our students who have moved to Melbourne to follow their dance dreams, thank you for supporting the 1 in 5 of our students who receive bursary support. Thank you also for supporting the training journey of our students and help us continue engaging Australia’s best established choreographers, such as Graeme Murphy AO, Stanton Welch AM, and Stephen Baynes and supporting the refitting, remaking, replenishing of tutus, dresses, jackets, tights, boots, character shoes, and more, for year’s upcoming School performances for over 125 students.
Save the Date
Stay tuned for details of Music behind the Dance, a performance showcasing our incredibly talented musicians on 23 October 2016 in our studios, as well as some special surprises. Pictured is our Gala Dinner 2016.
The Australian Ballet Society
The 1960s was a decade of excitement for ballet and dance in Australia. Following the establishment of The Australian Ballet (1962) and The Australian Ballet School (1964), The Australian Ballet Society officially commenced its support of both organizations in February 1966 - and still continues 50 years later!
The late Dame Peggy Van Praagh, founding Artistic Director of the Company, and Dame Margaret Scott, founding Director of the School, needed financial and practical help. To meet those needs a group of ballet lovers from around Melbourne formed the Ballet Society and set about raising funds and initially providing the basic essentials such as washing machine and dryers. It also provided the first student scholarship to a young man named Graeme Murphy.
Since those early days the Ballet Society, encouraged by the support of the Directors and Staff of both the Company and the School, has donated directly over $6.8 million, has provided immeasurable hours of volunteer work and is responsible for the funding, staff and administration of The Dancers' Deli as a service to the students, dancers, support staff and other tenants of The Primrose Potter Australian Ballet Centre.
Donated funds have been used for a multitude of projects - from funding new works and supporting The Dancers Company, to financing dancers' exchange programmes and guest teachers, to assisting Education programmes and purchasing equipment, to providing student scholarships and supporting overseas study travel.
The School is very grateful for the ongoing and significant support we receive from the Society not only financially but the support of the many volunteers who give so generously of their time in support of the School.
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