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Meet the Coryphées: Montana Rubin

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Montana Rubin, The Sleeping Beauty (McAllister) 2017
Photo Kate Longley

In the first instalment of this series, we meet Montana Rubin, who's living out her childhood dreams of becoming a fairy in her roles on stage.

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Montana Rubin with artists of The Australian Ballet, The Dream (Ashton) 2023
Photo Christopher Rodgers-Wilson

When did you start dancing?

I began dancing at the age of three. Back then class was mostly about being a fairy. It certainly was a precursor to all the fairy roles I’ve since performed as a professional on stage!

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Montana Rubin
Photo Kate Longley

When did you join The Australian Ballet?

I officially joined the company in 2016. However, immediately after graduating in 2015, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to tour and perform with the company's first ever Storytime Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty.

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Montana Rubin and Shaun Andrews, The Merry Widow (Hynd) 2018
Photo Kate Longley

When did you know you wanted ballet to be your career?

Essentially, I never questioned the path I was on. It was a natural progression and love for the art form that became a passion. It's a drive to experience a career fuelled by what is central to my happiness, personal fulfilment and professional ambition.

Do you have a dream role to dance?

Oh my, it’s a list that's ever-changing and growing! Clichés aside, if I’m dreaming big, it’s roles like Kitri, Odette/Odile and Juliet.

I’m a steadfast George Balanchine fan - roles like the Principal Couple in ‘Rubies’ (a section of Jewels) would be really fun. A wildcard would be to revisit Balanchine’s Raymond Variations, I performed it in my graduate year at The Australian Ballet School and I’d love to give it a go again, now with more maturity and insight.

A William Forsythe piece is up there in the contemporary space. Classics such as In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated and The Second Detail, amongst others. In particular One Flat Thing, reproduced, I saw it live once and it blew my mind.

Any Ohad Naharin piece is on my list too, as well as Crystal Pite. In 2022 I was fortunate to feature in the sections Crystal Pite choreographed for Kunstkamer, and that experience has inspired me and fuelled my desire to do more in that space.

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Montana Rubin with artists of The Australian Ballet, Jewels rehearsal (Balanchine) 2023
Photo Pierre Toussaint

Who was your favourite dancer when you were growing up?

I’d always admired and identified with dancers who were strong and powerful with a great ballon (the ability to appear effortlessly suspended in the air while performing a jump) and magnetism onstage. Tamara Rojo, Natalia Osipova, Maria Kotchekova and Ashley Boulder come to mind. But there are many more, Sylvie Guillem, Dorothee Gilbert, Darcey Bussell, Sara Mearns, Marianela Nunez. I can’t narrow it down!

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Montana Rubin
Photo Kate Longley

What’s something people may not know about ballet?

I’ll never forget the look of fascination when I told my housemate that ballets can be taught and preserved through notation (we typically use Benesh Notation). Despite the prevalence and rise of technology, it’s pretty cool we can still reference this older method.

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Montana Rubin, Lucien Xu, Yichuan Wang with artists of The Australian Ballet, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland© (Wheeldon) 2024
Photo Kate Longley

What’s something people may not know about you?

I’m a bit of a restaurant and cafe encyclopaedia. I have an interest in food, its origins and cultural history, which translates into following the restaurant scene. I’m the go-to-girl for recommendations and often have company members asking for dining suggestions.

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