Ballet on the Road
By Deborah Robertson
Being based in the most isolated city in the world means touring is an exceptionally large task, but the benefits of getting out of the city far outweigh all the hard work. At WAB it’s about far more than rolling in to town to do a show then rolling back out again just as quickly. It’s about connecting with the local community, for even a brief time, and seeing how we can contribute to the life and vibrancy of that area.
Our recent regional tour of Don Quixote took us to Albany, Bunbury and Kalgoorlie, where in true WAB style, we left our mark in more ways than just our performances. It’s important to WAB that we connect with the people living in the communities we travel to, and bring them together in more ways than the performance at the theatre. To this end WAB’s team of teaching artists (Robert Mills, Caroline Bartlett, Kelly Astbury (pictured) and Nicole Ward) spent a week in each location connecting with people from all walks of life through a whole range of different activities. With support from Healthway promoting the Act Belong Commit message, we ran Ballet Moves Workshops and Ballet Unveiled Presentations in primary and secondary schools, specialised technique classes for dance students of all ages, story-time sessions at libraries for tiny tots, and watching company open class on stage. Quite often we would see people at two or three different activities, taking full advantage of the multiple touch points we had on offer.
We were met with enthusiastic dancing bodies and curious minds everywhere we went. Hopefully we smashed some ballet stereotypes (no, it’s not just for girls!) and sparked a deeper interest in our art form (yes, they’re fitter than footy players!). It was so wonderful to see the positive benefits dance can have on everyone’s physical abilities and mental health, and the sense of community was abundant!
As you can see, when WAB gets on the road we package up so much more than costumes and sets, we want everyone in WA to get the full West Australian Ballet experience! Combining the quality of our productions with a full range of engagement activities for everyone in the community means we give all our heart and soul into ensuring it’s a positive experience for all. I can only speak for myself, but I’m pretty sure we left little pieces of hearts in regional WA too.