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2016, a year in review

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chihiro-nomura-and-gakuro-matsui-in-the-nutcracker-photo-by-sergey-pevnev-4

As West Australian Ballet’s The Nutcracker comes to a close after a sold out World Premiere season, we look back on the Company’s numerous achievements, tremendous success and significant organisational growth.


“I could not be more proud of WAB in this moment. In 2016 the Company’s standard has once again been lifted to another level; the result of many international guest teachers and choreographers coming to Perth to work with us, a wonderful international tour to Jakarta, the addition of five new full-time dancers from Italy, France and Japan, and a busy program of beautiful productions.” – Aurélien Scannella, Artistic Director.


Two of the Company’s newest dancers – Chihiro Nomura and Gakuro Matsui will be promoted to the rank of Principal Dancer during an announcement on stage by Aurélien during the curtain calls of the final performance of The Nutcracker this Sunday afternoon.


In addition, the retirement of WAB dancer André Santos will also be announced at this time. Mr Santos will bow out after performing in Company’s season of Don Quixote in May 2017.


Brazilian born André says “my journey with WAB has been incredible. As a professional I have learnt a lot, improved, have been challenged, and met some of the best people in my life. I have absolutely no regrets, but I miss my family. I don’t yet know what the future holds but as long as I can be closer to my family and at the end of the day have a stage and lights, I know I’ll be fine!”


One of WAB’s most successful box office seasons yet; 2016 saw three of four main stage productions sell to capacity, the intimate Genesis season attract lengthy waiting lists, and subscription package sales increase by 11%. The growth of a new, younger audience demographic signifies a changing perception of ballet and other traditional art forms in WA.


Community access and engagement remained in the spotlight for the year with an extensive knowledge exchange program between WAB and the Ballet Indonesia Foundation with over 150 participants from Indonesia and Singapore. A total of ten school and community performances were held and the Company’s first ever Winter School offered students an insight into the daily life of a professional ballet dancer.


Jessica Machin was appointed Executive Director in August 2016 and reflects; “Audiences may not be aware the Company saw significant organisational change behind-the-scenes this year. We have shaped and refined our Artistic and Access programs to work harmoniously, setting the benchmark not only in WA, but also internationally. As the Company enters its 65th Anniversary Season in 2017, I am confident we can continue our success working resiliently in a tight fiscal environment.”