Our next On The Couch With Christine Segment is with François Klaus and Robyn White from the Queensland Ballet.
With 24 young, athletic and technically accomplished dancers, Queensland Ballet is a vibrant and creative company which presents a varied repertoire of dance works. One of only three full-time professional ballet companies in Australia, Queensland Ballet is a showpiece of the State’s arts culture.
Under the artistic direction of French-born François Klaus since 1998, the Company presents approximately 100 performances each year. Its repertoire ranges from popular classics and full-length story ballets to new works in a variety of dance styles by reputed Australian and international choreographers, as well as emerging local talents. Works such as The Little Mermaid, which are designed especially to appeal to children and families, are another much-loved feature of the annual program.
In addition to performing in Brisbane, the Company tours each year to centres large and small in regional Queensland, as well as making interstate and overseas visits. With its audiences growing each year, Queensland Ballet enjoys a well-established reputation for passionate and innovative performance, both nationally and internationally.
The Company’s home is the historic Thomas Dixon Centre for Dance in Brisbane’s West End. The building was first built as a shoe factory in 1908. It now boasts four large dance studios, one of which, the Charles Lisner Studio, can be adapted as a comfortable and intimate performance venue. These excellent facilities enable the Company to offer a full range of training and community access programs.
With a firm commitment to nurturing young talent, Queensland Ballet offers dance students from as young as 11 years the opportunity to access the skills and experience of its artistic staff, ensuring a very high standard of training in the Junior Extension and Professional Year Programs, as well as in the Queensland Dance School of Excellence (a program offered in partnership with Education Queensland).
History of Queensland Ballet
Queensland Ballet was established in 1960 by Charles Lisner OBE. Lisner trained with Edouard Borovansky and danced with his ballet company before going to London to continue dance studies with the Sadler’s Wells Ballet School. He later joined The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden. In 1953 Lisner returned to Australia to open the Lisner Ballet Academy, and in 1960, the Lisner Ballet Company.
The Company was re-named Queensland Ballet in 1962 and became the first ballet ensemble in Australia to tour to regional centres, a commitment which continues today.
In 1974, Charles stepped down as Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer, to be replaced by Harry Haythorne. Following Harry’s departure in 1978, founding Company member and Principal Dancer, Harold Collins, was appointed as Artistic Director. Collins led the Company until his retirement in 1997, maintaining Lisner’s commitment to the creation of uniquely Australian dance, and to forging a strong and independent company.
Following an impressive career in Europe as a principal dancer, teacher and choreographer, François Klaus was appointed Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer of Queensland Ballet in 1998. Under his artistic stewardship, the Company has continued to prosper and grow, forging and ever-more significant place in the Australian cultural landscape and winning international acclaim.