Queensland Ballet Farewell Dinner Li Cunxin
Li and Mary, distinguished guests.
It’s such a pleasure for Graeme and me to welcome you all to our State Dining Room for this special farewell dinner with Li, Mary, their daughter Sophie, and some of their most committed and generous supporters and colleagues.
Like many young children, I loved to dance and dreamed of a life in pointe shoes.
So, to be Patron of our State ballet company has been a great joy, and I thank Li and the company for inviting me to continue the tradition of Vice-Regal patronage when I was appointed as Governor.
I also thank him for the many invitations we have received to attend Queensland Ballet performances during that time.
From Dracula in late 2021 to Strictly Gershwin last month, each production has strengthened my understanding of Li’s vision for the company and has helped me, as Patron, to promote and support it.
From my own limited experience as a ballet student, I suspect that retirement is much more difficult for dancers than for almost any other profession because their specific physical capabilities are essential to their very livelihood and sense of self.
When they retired as dancers, at the top of their profession, Li and Mary stepped back from the daily quest for technical mastery and artistic perfection that had defined their lives.
Now, as they depart the company they have helped define and build over the past 11 years, they face a similar challenge with the appointment of a new Artistic Director.
But we here all know that they will take that new direction confidently in their stride and while the company's new leadership will bring change, they can both be proud of the ambitious, resilient, and resourceful company they have helped create and will continue to take an active interest in its development.
On behalf of all Queenslanders, I wish you well as you seek to perfect your bodysurfing at Caloundra, Li, and thank you both, once again, for all you have done for the performing arts in Queensland and the world of dance more broadly.