As this most extraordinary year comes to a close, we take a moment to reflect on the year that has been. Whilst we can all agree this year challenged us, 2020 has certainly brought us closer together as a Company and enabled some surprising opportunities to engage our donors, partners, supporters, and audiences – remotely, and back on stage.
We have so much gratitude to each and every one of you for your unwavering support, especially as we know many of you have faced your own challenges this year.
Some highlights from our year are included below.
60 Dancers: 60 Stories
During lockdown we challenged our Company Dancers and Artistic team to develop new works on the theme of love – to choreograph, perform, film, edit and present the works as our first digital season. 60 Dancers, 60 Stories became a world premiere of 60 new short digital ballets released daily throughout June.
· Queensland Ballet’s first digital season
· 60 original works
· 17 new music compositions
· 100+ collaborators
· $1 million raised through the Keep the Magic Alive campaign
· Sold out shows across South East Queensland, as theatres opened up again, and some of these works were staged in Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.
Academy Thrives Despite Lockdown
We officially opened the doors to our new Academy building at Kelvin Grove State College in January, just two months before COVID saw studio doors close until August. To ensure our students were able to continue their training, our Academy team quickly set about delivering all programs online. This included our Elite Training Series and the Academy’s first “Boys Only Workshop”, which drew participants from all over Australia and New Zealand.
In 2021, our Academy programs are expanding to provide dancers as young as eight years old, the opportunity to train with our esteemed Faculty – through our after-school Foundation Program and the expansion of our full-time Academy Program which will cater for students from Year 7.
#TikTok You Don’t Stop
#balletbeatdrop was born in the lockdown of a pandemic and grabbed hold of the opportunity the stretch the annual dance challenge promotion beyond the usual child entrants, to include anyone in the world. We took advantage of natural dance challenge behaviours in trending social media platform, TikTok, and turned it into brand reach and participation for Queensland Ballet and our long-standing partner Suncorp.
We achieved our objective of spreading the magic of ballet far and wide, with 168 million views of the hashtag on TikTok alone. We achieved focused reach in regional Queensland by offering a prize for QLD based dance studios, encouraging participation from our core audience.
By every metric, this was our most successful promotion yet. It had the highest reach, engagement and was the most cost efficient.
Doors Open Thomas Dixon Centre! We’re close...
Significant progress has been made this year with the redevelopment of our home, the Thomas Dixon Centre. This heritage site in the heart of West End is being transformed into a world-class performing arts destination and cultural precinct flowing with creative energy. It will feature a state-of-the-art 353-seat theatre, café, rooftop terrace, stunning public art and multiple function spaces as well as dance studios, a wardrobe workshop, and arts workers’ spaces.
Home to Queensland Ballet since 1991, the Thomas Dixon Centre is expanding its cultural offering in 2021, thanks to support from the Queensland and Australian Governments, The Ian Potter Foundation and generous donors and corporate partners.
We can’t wait to welcome you to our reimagined home, where stories of all arts genres unfold.
Community and Educational Tour Delights Regional Communities
Throughout June and July, our Community and Education Team travelled across Queensland to spread the magic and joy of ballet beyond metro Brisbane. Despite a slightly amended itinerary to ensure compliance with COVID restrictions, the team delivered school and community workshops to students, seniors, and teachers. This is a valuable part of Queensland Ballet’s endeavour and one about which we are very passionate. We look forward to our full regional touring program to recommence in 2021.
LearningHUB is here
Following years of research and collaboration with industry experts, Queensland Ballet is proud to share with you our brand new QB LearningHUB! A suite of premium dance-based educational resources for teachers, early years educators, and dance teachers. And anybody who wants to instil a passion for learning through dance, in children of all ages!
Even the COVID Grinch couldn’t steal The Nutcracker
With COVID limiting indoor theatres to 50% capacities for most of 2020, it seemed an impossible task to stage our Christmas tradition of The Nutcracker. With the Company in lockdown in our 60###sup/sup### anniversary year, we partnered with Channel 9 for a very special presentation of The Nutcracker, featuring our very own Li Cunxin AO, for Christmas in July. This free broadcast was activated to share a story of festivity and spirit, whilst everyone endured social isolation.
When capacities returned to 100% in November, the QB and QPAC teams hustled to bring some festive magic back to the stage with Best of The Nutcracker. We gave away 1,000 tickets to frontline workers and others adversely impacted by COVID this year. A small gesture, but an absolute delight to bring some festive magic to Brisbane audiences.
Our First Digital Season Launch
You can switch off the lights, but you can never extinguish the flame. 2021 marks a triumphant return to the stage and a vibrant year of dance for Queensland Ballet. Dancers return with vitality, celebrating the joy of live performance. The 2021 calendar is full, enlivened with every aspect of performance audiences love: compelling musical scores; elaborate stage design; inspired costumes.
Earlier this month, we launched our 2021 season with a program of digital content, including interviews with Company Dancers as they contemplate the upcoming season. Watch our video at your leisure or scroll through to view the chapters.
We hope you agree that despite the unapparelled challenges this year has delivered, we enter the New Year with quiet optimism for a triumphant 2021.
Please note that our offices and studios are now closed and will re-open on Monday 4 January. Any enquiries received over the closure period will be responded to as soon as we return.
We can’t wait to see you in 2021, eager to experience more ballet magic – together.
Have a safe and happy holiday season.
From all of us at Queensland Ballet.