A ‘spirited’ year: highlights of 2023

A ‘spirited’ year: highlights of 2023

​​It’s been a whirlwind year of world premieres, global collaborations, touring, and Program launches at Queensland Ballet.

As we say a very fond farewell and thank you to our beloved Artistic Director Li Cunxin AO for the past 11 Seasons - and prepare to embark on a new 2024 - we celebrate the highlights of 2023: think contemporary dance with a French twist, Jazz Age Paris, Shakespeare, and new work inspired by Australian literature. Offstage, we delivered regional school workshops, created an Academy program, and even established a health institute. Explore our spirited year of highlights below.

Season 2023 opened triumphantly with the heart-wrenching Romantic era classic Giselle – a cause for celebration after its cancellation in 2022 due to the Brisbane flooding event.

Image Credit: Former First Company Artist Serena Green, Soloists Laura Tosar and Vito Bernasconi and Company Artist Dylan Lackey. Photography by Jakob Perrett.

Our Community and Education team travelled to 39 unique locations across 22 Local Government Areas in 2023, to deliver in-school workshops and community classes to people of all ages and abilities. We reached over 4600 participants, engaging with children as young as 2, right up to Seniors in Aged Care facilities. We travelled as far north as Cairns, as far south as Grafton and as far west as Mt Isa and Longreach/Winton!

Photography by Angharad Gladding.

We toured A Midsummer Night’s Dream around our home state to the Gold Coast, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Toowoomba, and even travelled interstate to Canberra. Reviewers of the performance said “It turns out if there is one thing that will get Canberrans out on a weeknight (in black tie, no less), it is Queensland Ballet. As the final stop on its regional tour, Queensland Ballet’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream has whirled into the capital and is dazzling audiences into the night” and “…it would have thrilled any audience in the world”.

Image Credit: Principal Artists Patricio Revé and Victor Estévez performing in Cairns.

There were multiple world premieres, including the striking contemporary piece Miroirs choreographed by Remi Wörtmeyer to the music of French composer Maurice Rave, played live onstage by pianist Daniel Le, and the stunning adaptation of one of Australia’s most loved works – My Brilliant Career, choreographed by Cathy Marston.

Image Credit: Sam Neill visiting the cast of My Brilliant Career, as part of Trilogy. Photography by Angharad Gladding.

We brought back one of our most popular productions from Li’s tenure: Derek Deane's Strictly Gershwin – a stunning tribute to the Gershwin brothers and a celebration of the glitz and glamour of the 1920s and ‘30s, featuring guest tap dancers and singers; Queensland Symphony Orchestra onstage; multiple different styles of dance; roller-skating; cycling; and much more.

Image Credit: Soloists Georgia Swan and Vito Bernasconi. Photography by David Kelly.

Queensland Ballet Academy collaborated with acclaimed Australian artist Michael Zavros and Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra for a dazzling new season of Soirée, performed at the Talbot Theatre.

Image Credit: Queensland Ballet Academy students performing Being Beauteous inspired by artwork by Michael Zavros - LV L'Ennui, 2006, Charcoal on Paper, 120 x 85cm. Photography by David Kelly.

Queensland Ballet Academy launched the new Foundation Program Level 10 for young dancers aged 6 to 8, bridging the gap between Queensland Ballet’s Petit Pointers courses for children aged 1-5 and the Foundation Program, which catered from 8 years of age. We now offer a complete training pathway for dancers from childhood to professional level.

Photography by Angharad Gladding.

We launched the Van Norton Li Community Health Institute, strengthening and sustaining our commitment to health and wellbeing through clinically-designed dance programs, and made possible thanks to the generous donation from Kay Van Norton AO and funding from the State Government.

Photography by Jakob Perrett.

Two Level 1 Academy students Ruby and Jenson were selected to compete at the prestigious Prix de Lausanne in 2024 – an incredible achievement!

Photography by Johnny Harkin.

We officially christened the Murphy Family Foundation Community Studio in a ceremony that acknowledged the Murphy family’s generous contribution that enables us to expand our community programs and further commit to placing community and wellness at the heart of all we do.

Photography by Jakob Perrett.

Our 11th season of The Nutcracker encompassed 22 magical shows, bringing festive cheer to the families and audiences of Brisbane.

Image Credit: Principal Artist Patricio Revé. Photography by David Kelly.

We celebrated the tenure of outgoing Artistic Director Li Cunxin AO with the special Love & Legacy gala Season in December, featuring excerpts from ‘magical memories’ over the past 11 years, including Swan Lake, Dracula, and Cinderella.

Our annual Artistic Seasons have thrived under Li Cunxin AO's leadership, with our 2023 Season being no exception delivering the highest box office result in the 63 year history of the Company.

Image Credit: Company Artists Shaun Curtis and Heidi Freeman performing Miroirs as part of Trilogy. Photography by David Kelly.

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. Long before we performed on this land, it played host to the dance expression of our First Peoples. We pay our respects to their Elders — past, present and emerging — and acknowledge the valuable contribution they have made and continue to make to the cultural landscape of this country.

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