Posted on 12 January 2021 By Behind Ballet Editorial Team

We are delighted to announce our relationship with CHANEL, who as our Living Heritage Partner will help us digitise and protect our precious archival photographs and film footage, sponsoring the creation of a Digital Asset Management (DAM) to keep them safe and readily accessible.

CHANEL has its own longstanding history with ballet and the arts. Its founder, Gabrielle Chanel, designed for and supported Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes throughout her lifetime; in more recent times Karl Lagerfeld, during his tenure as Creative Director, collaborated with numerous choreographers, as well as creating costumes for English National Ballet. Virginie Viard, current Artistic Director of Fashion Collections, most recently reimagined costumes for the Paris Opéra Ballet.

Thanks to our pas de deux with CHANEL, we’ll be able to preserve our cherished heritage for future generations – a particularly timely exercise as we approach our 60th birthday in 2022. As we delve deeply into our archives, we’ll be sharing treasures of historical significance and mesmerising vintage beauty. Here’s a preview of what’s to come. 

Marilyn Rowe, the first dancer to rise through the ranks of The Australian Ballet to become a principal artist. She later served briefly as a ‘caretaker’ director of the company before becoming director of The Australian Ballet School. 

Photography Paul Cox

Although stage make-up has stayed basically the same throughout the decades, it is inflected by the fashions of its era. Note the heavy line these 60s dancers are drawing on their upper lids.

Juliette Solley, Lucyna Sevitsky and Joanne Endicott backstage. Photography The Australian Ballet archive

Kristian Fredrikson’s devastatingly simple tutus for Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake got to strut the streets of Paris when photographer Lisa Tomasetti took the dancers outside during The Australian Ballet’s 2008 tour. This dancer is Lana Jones, who went on to become a principal artist and dance the roles of both Odette and Baroness von Rothbart in this production.  

Photography Lisa Tomasetti

One of our most celebrated principal artists of the 1980s, Christine Walsh, who danced the role of Aurora in Maina Gielgud’s The Sleeping Beauty before royalty at Covent Garden on the company’s 1988 tour of London. She wears Aurora’s tutu, designed by Hugh Colman, from the third act wedding scene.

Photography David B Simmons

Our most recent production of The Sleeping Beauty, choreographed by David McAllister, features set and costume designs by Gabriela Tylesova. This is the costume for the Fairy of Wisdom, Carabosse, who curses the Princess Aurora to sleep for 100 years. She carries her totem, the owl.

Photography Lynette Wills

A beautiful piece of retro design … and a crucial piece of our history. The poster for our first ever season in 1962/63.