Queensland Ballet Academy Visit
Queensland Ballet Academy Director, Mr Christian Tàtchev; Head of Academy Operations, Ms Gabrielle Johnston; teachers and students; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here today.
I was delighted to accept the invitation to be with you today to tour the Academy and to have the opportunity to meet the staff and some of the gifted students who work every day in this superb facility.
I have been passionate about ballet since I was a child – in fact, I had hoped one day to become a ballerina! But although I practised diligently, it became clear by the time I was a teenager that I was unlikely to be the next Margot Fonteyn and that I had to make a choice, so Medicine became my calling.
Here at the Academy, students no longer have to make that choice – they can both dream big dreams and keep their career options open because of the multi-faceted programs offered by the Academy in conjunction with Queensland Ballet and Kelvin Grove State College.
It is a truly visionary concept that began 70 years ago this year, when Charles Lisner, the founder of Queensland Ballet, took the ambitious step of establishing his Ballet Academy.
Lisner’s academy certainly created a clear pathway to the profession, but in the 1950s, there was no alternative pathway for those who, for various reasons, had to abandon their goal of a career in dance.
Fortunately, 30 years later, three enterprising dance teachers established the Queensland Dance School of Excellence in partnership with Education Queensland and Queensland Ballet. For the first time, this enabled students to undertake both full-time dance and Year 12 studies.
That program was a game-changer and its evolution into the Queensland Ballet Academy we know today is one of the great success stories of the Arts industry in Queensland.
It’s now almost three years since the Academy was officially declared opened and its progress in that time has been nothing short of remarkable.
With Li Cunxin AO as Artistic Director, and Christian Tatchev as Academy Director, Queensland Ballet is committed to providing world-class training which will produce the artists of the future – and proof of their success can already be seen in the list of some 30 professional companies in Europe, Asia and Australia who have engaged graduating Academy students.
It is an achievement of which the Academy, the College, the Company, and Education Queensland can be enormously proud and on behalf of all Queenslanders, I congratulate the committed team of teachers and staff, and the professionals working in the Student Wellness Centre.
I would also like to acknowledge the Academy’s many sponsors, supporters and parents for their ongoing support, and wish the students every success for their future careers – whatever they may be and wherever they may take them. Thank you.