Australian Ballet School heads to Assemblée Internationale 2017

Serena Graham and Joseph Romancewicz in Graeme Murphy AO's 'Almost'. Photo by Sergey Konstantinov.
Serena Graham and Joseph Romancewicz in Graeme Murphy AO's 'Almost'. Photo by Sergey Konstantinov.

Every four years, Canada’s National Ballet School hosts the Assemblée Internationale (AI), an international dance festival for some of the world’s most prestigious professional ballet schools. This year, April 30-May 6, representatives from 21 schools from across 11 countries will participate in AI, where students and teachers will take part in ballet classes, rehearsals and four performances.

The Australian Ballet School is one of the schools to head to Toronto, Canada, for AI, and its students will perform Almost, a 2016 work by Australian Ballet School alumnus Graeme Murphy AO, with creative associate Janet Vernon AM.

Lynette Wills, former Australian Ballet principal artist and currently Level 5-7 coordinator and Level 7 classical teacher at the School, believes that AI is a great opportunity for young artists to be involved in the creation of new works and perform together, in what will likely be a rewarding learning experience.

“This collaborative opportunity will expose them to a broader dance experience, giving them the chance to share stories, establish new networks and create friendships,” she says.

Sara Andrlon, Noah Dunlop and Eilis Small in Graeme Murphy AO's 'Almost'. Photo by Sergey Konstantinov.

Sara Andrlon, Noah Dunlop and Eilis Small in Graeme Murphy AO’s ‘Almost’. Photo by Sergey Konstantinov.

In particular, Wills says that Australian Ballet School students were offered the unique opportunity to be involved creatively, be challenged and grow artistically with their involvement in learning Murphy’s Almost.

“The School’s vision is to honour the past, achieve in the present and create the future, and in this work we have encapsulated that vision by creating a new work with a choreographer who is not only world renowned but also a graduate of the School,” Wills explains.

The Australian Ballet School is certainly excited to send student representatives to participate in AI. “Young people are incredibly capable, and when we can give them a forum and a collaborative opportunity, they seize the chance to explore and learn,” says Marcus Bennett, marketing and communications manager for the School. “An enriching experience such as Assemblée Internationale, where they can come together and share in incredible performances and creative opportunities, is for us a not to be missed global event. It also provides unique and invaluable opportunities for staff to connect, share stories, establish new networks and friendships and to learn from each other. We can’t wait to get there.”

In addition, Wills says, “Geographically, Australia can feel isolated from the opportunity to experience a variety of ballet companies. AI will give the staff and students the chance to connect on a global level. The students will be collaborating with dancers from many cultures and with teachers of varying vocabularies. This invaluable experience will broaden their knowledge, challenge and stimulate them on many levels.”

Other participating schools in this year’s AI include Houston Ballet Academy, National Ballet School of Cuba, The Ailey School, Codarts Rotterdam, The Royal Ballet School, New Zealand School of Dance and more.

The box office for Assemblée Internationale 2017 is now open. For more information or to purchase tickets for performances From 21 Schools: Traditionally Timeless to Cutting Edge (May 2-3), and NBS Alumni Choreographers: Fast Forward with Blended Casts (May 5-6), visit www.nbs-enb.ca/nbs-events—performances/assemblee-internationale/events/ai17-calendar-april-30.

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

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