What was your favourite highlight of 2018?

The Australian Ballet's Rina Nemoto in 'The Sleeping Beauty'. Photo by Kate Longley.
The Australian Ballet's Rina Nemoto in 'The Sleeping Beauty'. Photo by Kate Longley.

Can you believe that the end of another year is quickly approaching? Time can go so fast, and rather than let it fly by and think ahead too much to 2019, it’s nice to sit and reflect on the past year – all that you’ve accomplished, people you’ve met, dance and personal events, and global happenings. Here, Dance Informa hears from some professionals in the industry about their favourite highlights of 2018.

Rina Nemoto, soloist, The Australian Ballet

The Australian Ballet's Rina Nemoto. Photo by Kate Longely.

The Australian Ballet’s Rina Nemoto. Photo by Kate Longely.

“One of the highlights would be performing the role of Alice in Christopher Weldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It was my first time performing a lead role with the company, and my parents came to watch my show, which was very special, as I wouldn’t be a ballet dancer without their love and support. It was such an amazing opportunity, and I learnt so much, technically and artistically, from this role, and as a result I feel I have more confidence.

The past year, I’ve also been very honoured to be nominated for the Telstra Ballet Dancer of the Year Award, and I am so very grateful for this amazing opportunity.”

Dusty Button, international guest artist

Dusty Button. Photo by Mitchell Button.

Dusty Button. Photo by Mitchell Button.

“Once every day, I ask myself, ‘When was the last time you did something for the first time?’ Doing something for the first time is liberating because it is new territory. Being the first to do that something is in a small way playing a part in history that will live beyond us. The highlight of my year was being the first aerobatic ballerina when I took flight with RedBull Air Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

Neneka Yoshida, soloist, Queensland Ballet

“This year has been definitely the most exciting and challenging year ever for me. At the beginning of the year, thanks to a scholarship, I had the privilege of visiting a number of international dance companies to see how they work every day in the studio. It was just incredible to come back here with all the amazing inspirations to start the new season with QB.

Queensland Ballet's Neneka Yoshida.

Queensland Ballet’s Neneka Yoshida.

Performing Nikiya in our world premiere of La Bayadère was the most unforgettable experience for me. I’ve learned so many new things this year around developing characters and expressing emotions within ballets, qualities of movement, and the importance of making powerful connections with partners. There are so many other highlights for me, including performing in Liam Scarlett’s The Firebird and Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella and dancing in Japan as a professional for the first time. By far the best thing is the privilege of working with amazing choreographers and coaches who always help me prepare so well for roles. This preparation means I can always give my best on stage, I can get completely lost in the story, and really experience and express the character.”

Li Cunxin, artistic director, Queensland Ballet

“What a year it has been. I don’t think I could possibly give just one highlight, and so I’ll share two that are linked by one very special person: Liam Scarlett. Liam has given me two highlights that I’ll cherish forever. The first was experiencing opening night of Liam’s new production of Swan Lake for The Royal Ballet earlier this year. What a masterpiece. In all honesty, I’ve seen (and danced) so many versions of this classic that I didn’t think I could find anything new in this ballet. Liam’s version blew me away with its sheer beauty, his incredible choreography that finds things in the music that others don’t seem to touch on, his soaring vision that doesn’t miss even the tiniest detail. It made me fall in love with this oldest of ballets all over again. 

Liam lent his magic to another of my highlights for the year as Queensland Ballet undertook its first tour to Melbourne with his production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This was a dream come true for me, as Melbourne was my first home in Australia and where I danced the final years of my dancing career with The Australian Ballet. I was so very proud to be able to take Queensland Ballet to Melbourne, and know that our dancers are world-class and that we were presenting the work of one of today’s most sought-after and respected choreographers. The fact that Liam is also Artistic Associate with Queensland Ballet, in addition to his role as Artist in Residence with The Royal Ballet, just fills my heart with pride and speaks volumes about how far our company has come.”

The Australian Ballet's Marcus Morelli. Photo by Kate Longley.

The Australian Ballet’s Marcus Morelli. Photo by Kate Longley.

Marcus Morelli, soloist, The Australian Ballet 

“Performing the role of Spartacus in our premiere season of Lucas Jervies’ brand new production created on The Australian Ballet is a career highlight and the best time I’ve ever had on stage.”

Georgia Swan, soloist, Queensland Ballet

Queensland Ballet's Georgia Swan.

Queensland Ballet’s Georgia Swan.

“A highlight for me would be our season of La Bayadère. It was such a joy to see the company perform such a beautiful production at such a high standard, and to have had it created on us made it so special to perform! It was also particularly memorable for me, as it was the season in which I was promoted to soloist, a momentous occasion in any dancer’s career.”

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

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