Tuesday, March 16th, 2010
FOLLOWING a special council meeting on March 8, the City of Bayswater has made a historic decision to support the establishment of a State Ballet Centre in the former Senses building in Maylands, to create a vibrant, new permanent home for West Australian Ballet.

The centre will be a world-class rehearsal and training facility for the company and eventually home to an elite ballet training school, eliminating the need for young dancers to travel to the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne or the New Zealand School of Dance for high-level classical ballet training opportunities.

West Australian Ballet intends to work closely with local ballet schools and the WA Academy of Performing Arts to ensure there is a well-structured professional pathway for talented young ballet dancers in the State.

Bayswater Mayor Terry Kenyon said the City was supportive of a State Ballet Centre in Maylands because it would tie in with the rejuvenation of the area under the Maylands Urban Design Framework and soon-to-be-built Maylands Multipurpose Centre.

“The arts are an asset that should be nurtured and encouraged to grow naturally, helped by council’s strong facilitation role, that helps to support and develop creative expression,” he said.

“By embracing this philosophy we have attracted many artistic and creative people to our city over the years, which is why council supports arts and cultural endeavours, such as ballet.

“After initial discussions in 2009, the City will now be lodging grant applications to fund the project, preparing a business plan for the purchase of the Senses Building and starting the necessary negotiations.

“I’m pleased the City of Bayswater has committed to such a project, which will become a true world-class facility, and a thriving hub that will attract aspiring ballet dancers from near and afar.”

Mayor Kenyon said further details involving specifics of the project were not available because it was a confidential item at the special council meeting.

West Australian Ballet Deputy Chair John Langoulant said: “We trust, that through our partnership with the City of Bayswater, the State Government, the corporate sector and private donors, we will achieve a cultural destination of historical significance; a dynamic centre of creativity and excellence for WA.
“West Australian Ballet has embarked on a major fundraising campaign to enable the building to be refurbished in a way that complements the company’s goals.

“It looks forward to the support of its partners, including the State Government, in that campaign and we feel confident that a positive outcome will be achieved.”

WA Ballet General Manager Steven Roth added: “After three years of exhaustive searching for a proper home for the Company, the wait is finally over! Although a massive undertaking for the company, the largest investment in its history, it is certainly a time for great celebration and acknowledgement that the arts in Western Australia can stand up to the best the world has to offer.

“We see this is an important development not only for dance but for the whole community. Our programs and training have been constrained by space issues for many years, so this facility will certainly make all the difference to the delivery of ballet performance and training in this State and something that all Western Australians will be proud.”

WA Ballet Artistic Director Ivan Cavallari noted: “We have a very special company of elite dancers here in Western Australia that have had to endure substandard facilities for decades.

“Finally, they will be able to grande jeté without hitting the wall! The space will enable the ballet masters to train the boys and girls separately, which is standard for every company in the world but has not been possible with just one studio, and also for larger ballets to be rehearsed without compromise.

“Ballet is all about movement through space – without space, that becomes a very difficult proposition. This is very exciting for my dancers and West Australian ballet community.”

Finbar CEO John Chan also added: “Finbar is very happy that this iconic heritage building can be returned to the community and restored as an important training facility for the State’s much-loved West Australian Ballet company.

“Finbar is committed to supporting the arts and creative communities, as we see it as important for the welfare of Western Australia.”

Contact Profile

West Australian Ballet

In 1952, West Australian Ballet was established by Madame Kira Bousloff - the first ballet company formed in Australia that is still in existence today.

Madame Bousloff, a Prima Ballerina with the Ballets Russes, had travelled to the east coast of Australia in 1938. After completing her commitment with the Ballets Russes she travelled west to Perth on holiday and fell in love with the city, declaring that the beautiful coastline reminded her of the French Riviera. To find out more about Madame Bousloff click here.

Since its formation West Australian Ballet has developed an impressive reputation for superior classical and contemporary ballet and contemporary dance of the highest level. Its repertoire continues to develop steadily; classical ballet forming the foundation for the Company's vocabulary, combined with a distinct contemporary outlook on the art form. West Australian Ballet stages everything from full length classical ballets, narrative ballets and shorter works, and encompasses a variety of choreographic styles.

The Company is based in Perth and resides at His Majesty’s Theatre. It offers an extensive program of dance throughout the year, with three to four major seasons in Perth, regional touring throughout Western Australia, choreographic workshops, a series of free public performances, an extensive education program and other community activities.

West Australian Ballet also tours nationally and internationally; past international tours include China, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines. In 2005 West Australian Ballet toured nationally to Melbourne, Canberra, Wollongong, Parramatta and Newcastle and embarked on a North West Tour to Broome, Karratha, Onslow and Newman

West Australian Ballet is the only state dance company that has an official partnership with its state symphony orchestra; the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
Rosita Stangl, Publicist
P: (08) 9367 8884
W: www.waballet.com.au

City of Bayswater

The City of Bayswater is a local government area in the inner north-eastern suburbs of the West Australian capital city of Perth, about 9km north-east of Perth's CBD, and includes the suburbs of Bayswater, Beford, Embleton, Maylands, Morley and Noranda and parts of Mount Lawley and Dianella. It covers an area of 32.8 square kilometres and has a population of 55,801.

Originally, the Bayswater Road District was created in 1897 and, in 1961, it became a shire before attaining City status in 1983. The City of Bayswater is divided into four wards and represented by 11 councillors with the Mayor elected from among the councillors.

Recent developments in the City of Bayswater include the opening of the Galleria shopping centre in 1994, on the site of the old Boans building that burnt down in 1986. Morley is now the largest commercial district outside of Perth and Fremantle and further growth is expected.
Chris Thomas
P: (08) 9272 0923
W: www.bayswater.wa.gov.au


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