A showcase of classic and contemporary dance has celebrated six decades of artistic brilliance as Queensland Ballet returns to the stage after COVID for its 60th Anniversary Gala.
Attending opening night celebrations at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk honoured the much-loved company’s history, quality and commitment to the Queensland community since 1960.
“While COVID-19 may have postponed the 60th Anniversary Gala, it is well worth the wait, proving again that Queensland is the place to be as more activities resume and our economy recovers from the pandemic,” the Premier said.
“I congratulate Artistic Director Li Cunxin, Queensland Ballet artists, staff and supporters on this triumphant return to the stage, to begin the 2021 season with this wonderful retrospective.
“This is also an occasion to pay tribute to the Ballet’s previous leaders Charles Lisner, Harry Haythorne, Harold Collins and François Klaus.
“In the 1960s, the company was one of the first ensembles to take their productions to the regions.
“To this day, including through the coronavirus pandemic, the company continues to lead outreach and education programs across the state, travelling into the regions last June and July to spread the beauty of ballet.
“For 60 years, Queensland Ballet has delivered art in motion, giving new life to classic works, pushing theatrical boundaries and dazzling audiences in Australia and abroad.
“The five Artistic Directors have left an indelible mark across the company’s six decades, enriching the lives of Queenslanders and embedding the arts into Queensland communities.”
Through the coronavirus pandemic, Queensland Ballet kept active – releasing 60 new short digital ballets, raising funds through the Keep the Magic Alive campaign and launching the TikTok #balletbeatdrop challenge.
Originally scheduled for March 2020, the 60th Anniversary Gala is a retrospective paying tribute to Queensland Ballet’s five Artistic Directors, with excerpts from Chopin pas de deux (1965), Carmina Burana (1982), and The Little Mermaid (2003).
The Gala features Queensland Ballet’s acclaimed dancers, as well as alumni artists and national guest artists from the Australian Ballet at select performances.
Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government was proud to support Queensland Ballet as one of Australia’s leading ballet companies.
“The arts are a key to delivering our plan for economic recovery, each year injecting $8.5 billion into the state’s economy and supporting more than 92,000 jobs for Queenslanders,” Minister Enoch said.
“In addition to the important role the arts and cultural sector plays in supercharging our economy, our, companies like Queensland Ballet tell our stories, and lift our spirits as we emerge from challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That’s why the Palaszczuk Government has committed to around $60 million worth of initiatives to support the arts ands and cultural sector through the impacts of COVID-19, including a $22.5 million Arts and Cultural Recovery package.
“And as the Anniversary Gala premieres at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) Playhouse, work is also progressing on the New Performing Arts Venue.
“When it’s completed, the new theatre will be part of the largest performing arts centre in Australia.”
Queensland Ballet Artistic Director Li Cunxin AO said audiences could expect an emotional and captivating journey through dance when Queensland Ballet presented its highly anticipated 60th Anniversary Gala.
“This is truly a performance brimming with treasures. In 2021 we celebrate our achievements, we reflect our history, and we look towards the future after postponing our entire 2020 season,” Mr Li said.
“After a challenging 2020, to be able to celebrate our company and 60th Anniversary Gala with our loyal patrons and fans means more than you could imagine.
“We are incredibly grateful to be on stage with audiences at 100 per cent capacity.”
For more information on Queensland Ballet’s 2021 season: https://www.queenslandballet.com.au/