The Australian Ballet

A performance 60 years in the making

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Sarah Peace, Madeleine Eastoe and Jake Mangakahia

Photo Rainee Lantry

To celebrate our 60th birthday, The Australian Ballet is thrilled to reveal that resident choreographer Alice Topp will reunite with several members of The Australian Ballet alumni in a history making production.

One half of the Identity double bill, Paragon pays tribute to the company’s origins, strength and evolution. Featuring performances from Simon Dow, Lucinda Dunn, Madeleine Eastoe, Steven Heathcote, Paul Knobloch, Sarah Lehmann, Kirsty Martin, David McAllister, Marilyn Rowe, Leanne Stojmenov, Jessica Thompson and Fiona Tonkin, Paragon unites past company members with the rising stars of the future.

Marilyn Rowe returns to The Australian Ballet 58 years since her debut in 1965 and is joined by ballet veterans Simon Dow who joined the company in 1974, becoming part of the teaching faculty in 2012 and Lucinda Dunn, the longest serving female dancer with a 24-year career.

Former Artistic Director and dancer David McAllister offers some insight into the upcoming production.

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Marilyn Rowe and Kelvin Coe 1970

Paragon reunites The Australian Ballet dancers from throughout the company’s history, what are you most looking forward to in this performance?

David McAllister: It will be such a delight to be performing on stage with so many of my peers and also people who I admired when I was a dancer. It is such a thrill to be working with Alice Topp to create this ballet and it will be amazing to be back on stage dancing with the company of both yesterday and today.

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David McAllister

Photo David B Simmond

You’re one of Australia’s most recognisable dancers, are there any nerves in returning to the stage?

DM: Yes absolutely. I haven’t trained in the classroom as a dancer since I stopped dancing properly in 2001. Taking class has been a huge journey of rediscovery. I am certainly not as limber or strong as I was when I retired, but the dancers and staff have been SO welcoming and supportive which has taken a lot of the nerves away.

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Jessica Thompson

Photo Rainee Lantry

You’ve worked with choreographer Alice Topp since she joined the The Australian Ballet as a dancer in 2007, is it strange switching roles with you being the performer and Alice being the choreographer?

DM: It has been such a delight to see the way Alice has evolved into such a creative and unique choreographer with her buoyant and generous nature really shining through in the rehearsal room. She has been very clever to work around our abilities and I think has found a bit more in all of us ‘returners’ than we thought was there when it comes to the physicality of the piece! So far it has been a joyous experience, with a few momentary aches and pains that reminds me of my former life.

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Madeleine Eastoe and Sarah Peace

Photo Rainee Lantry

The production is called Identity, what does identity mean to you?

DM: I think The Australian Ballet has a very strong and individual identity. Since 1962 our company has had an optimism and enthusiasm which shines throughout our performances. That really Australian ‘have a go’ attitude which has seen us punch well above our weight at times but also continuously learning and improving. For me my identity has always been strong influenced by my years as a dancer. After 22 years of that being somewhat of a memory, this opportunity has enabled me to once again experience that ‘identity’ again, even if there is a bit of wear and tear to manage along the way!

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Madeleine Eastoe and David McAllister

Photo Rainee Lantry

Identity premieres in Sydney from the 2nd of May 2023 before heading to Melbourne in on June 24th. For more information or to book tickets, click on the button below.

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Paul Knobloch performs in Le Corsaire 2007
Photo Jim McFarlane

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Marilyn Rowe, 1983

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Lucinda Dunn and Steven Heathcote
Photo Jeff Busby

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Valentina Kozlova and Simon Dow in The Nutcracker (Kozlov & Kozlova), 1982
Photo Athol Shmith

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Jake Mangakahia and Sarah Peace
Photo Rainee Lantry

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Julie da Costa and Simon Dow in The Display (Helpmann) 1983
Photo Branco Gaica

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Leanne Stojmenov in Cinderella (Ratmansky) 2013

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Kirsty Martin
Photo Branco Gaica

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Kevin Jackson and Madeleine Eastoe
Photo Jeff Busby

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Valentina Kozlova and Simon Dow
Photo Athol Shmith


Madeleine Eastoe and Paul Knobloch in Forgotten Land (Kylián) 1986
Photo Jim McFarlane

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Marilyn Rowe in Don Quixote, 1970

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Amber Scott and Adam Bull
Photo Rainee Lantry