Lynette Wills, one of our most loved and dedicated dancers, bids farewell to The Australian Ballet tonight after a career spanning almost 19 years. She shares some of her favourite ballet moments.
Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake
I have such a special memory of being promoted to Principal Artist after the Sydney premiere of Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake. I was fortunate enough to dance the role Baroness von Rothbart many times. With each new season the character evolved and I would find myself portraying the Baroness differently. I feel emotionally attached to this role, and such a close bond formed between Steve [Heathcote] Madeleine [Eastoe] and myself as we told the story.
I first performed Kitri in my third year in the company. It was a big opportunity for me. I was dancing with Andrew Murphy, who I had trained with as a child in Canberra, which made it extra special. I have performed Kitri several times since and, although it’s extremely exhausting, I love the cheekiness and energy of the role.
The first principal role I performed with Steven Heathcote was Gamzatti in La Bayadére. It’s a beautiful epic ballet and another great character, with so much scope for personal interpretation. The last time I performed La Bayadére I was partnered by Robert Curran and it was my last show with the company. I was four months pregnant with Sophie.
I was chosen to play the Mistress for the simulcast of Manon at the last minute. I look at it now and don’t remember feeling any of the confidence I displayed while filming. It’s a role that really challenges you each night.
I have danced many roles over the years with Robert Curran. We have a mutual respect that makes us work well together. He is a generous and gifted partner and always sets you at ease to make you look your very best.
01 Lynette Wills. Photography James Braund
02 Madeleine Eastoe, Steven Heathcote and Lynette Wills in Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake. Photography David Kelly
03 Lynette Wills in Don Quixote.
04 Robert Curran and Lynette Wills in La Bayadére pas d’action. Photography Jim McFarlane
05 Lynette Wills in Manon. Photography Branco Gaica
06 Robert Curran and Lynette Wills in Agon. Photography Jeff Busby