Located just a tram ride away from The Australian Ballet’s Melbourne HQ, is one of Victoria’s most socially and culturally diverse primary schools, St Kilda Primary School. Nearly ten years ago, staff from The Australian Ballet Education Team boarded the number 67 tram to meet the Principal, Sue Higgins. From that meeting began a partnership that has benefited thousands of children.
Weave Youth and Community Services is a non-profit community organisation that supports young people, women, children and families, many from Indigenous backgrounds, living in the City of Sydney and South Sydney. In July this year a group of children from Weave, between the ages of seven and thirteen, worked with The Australian Ballet Education team to choreograph and perform a contemporary dance piece for their family and friends.
The Sydney Opera House is one of the most famous performance venues in the world. It is also The Australian Ballet's home away from home. Each year, the company performs to thousands of ballet lovers under its famous sails. In 2016, for the first time, The Australian Ballet joined forces with the Opera House to bring the experience of going to the ballet to hundreds of students living with disabilities, many of whom might not otherwise have had this experience.
Biddigal Performing Arts and The Australian Ballet Education
Biddigal Performing Arts is a company of young Indigenous dancers based in Cairns. Aged between 11 and 25 years, the dancers learn alongside mentors who share their passion to express their Indigenous heritage and history through their unique choreography and the presentation of their work. Over the last two years, The Australian Ballet Education team has been delivering residencies with Biddigal focusing on skills development and engaging in cultural exchange to support that community.
3,751 km from The Australian Ballet’s Melbourne HQ is Bees Creek Primary School, a small school serving an outer rural area of Darwin. In 2016, members of The Australian Ballet’s Dance Education Ensemble made the journey from Melbourne to deliver the Out There program to 150 students in Years 4, 5 and 6 for the very first time.
Spring Parks Primary School is located in Springvale, Victoria. The school is rich in its multi-cultural diversity including families from Vietnamese, Chinese, Cambodian, Pacific Islander and Sudanese backgrounds. In early 2017, The Australian Ballet Education team worked with Spring Parks Primary School to deliver STEAMDANCE workshops to inspire students to use movement to choreograph dance works based around STEM subjects.
Moving to a new country and learning a new language can be a very challenging and difficult time for children and their families. Ingle Farm Primary School located in Adelaide, South Australia prides itself on ensuring that all children feel valued and supported by engaging them in the arts. Watch The Australian Ballet Education Team during their week residency delivering the STEAMDANCE Program.
In 2016 The Australian Ballet Education undertook a pilot project in Shepparton with 4 regional high schools. This pilot aimed to use dance to add value to young people’s lives by developing core skills, confidence, aspiration, and general well-being. From 2017 to 2019 the Colonial Foundation and the Fairley Foundation will fund the project in order that it be delivered to young people across the region to increase opportunity and access.