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Telstra and The Australian Ballet launch new program to boost access for regional ballet

Jett Ramsay, Paul Knobloch and Laura Griffiths. Photo by Nicole Cleary.
Jett Ramsay, Paul Knobloch and Laura Griffiths. Photo by Nicole Cleary.

After four decades of supporting The Australian Ballet, Telstra has announced it is expanding the partnership to regional areas through a brand-new program, Let’s Dance, designed to provide opportunities for young dancers and inspire the next generation.

Let’s Dance presented by Telstra and The Australian Ballet, allows regional students of diverse backgrounds and abilities the chance to experience the joy and wonder of ballet firsthand. The program aims to make dance more accessible and increase regional participation in ballet and the arts.

Under Let’s Dance, The Australian Ballet team will collaborate with hundreds of students at eight regional schools across three states, creating memories the children will treasure for years to come. Events will take place in Renmark, Tanunda, Port Pirie and Whyalla in South Australia, before heading to Bendigo in Victoria, and Goulburn, Newcastle and Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.

Thanks to Telstra, the students will have the rare opportunity to attend studio sessions and learn from distinguished teachers from the ballet, join special backstage visits, observe dancers at work in rehearsal rooms, and take their seats to watch an extraordinary performance of ballet at their local theatre. The students will be also given a dance pack filled with new gear to help equip the next generation.

If that were not enough, one very lucky dancer from each country school will also receive a special opportunity to travel to The Australian Ballet Centre in Melbourne. This visit will provide an immersive ballet experience reflecting a day in the life of a professional dancer, from training and rehearsals to wardrobe and physiotherapy. Their city visit will be capped off by watching a performance presented by The Australian Ballet in Melbourne, as part of the company’s 2024 season.

The program allows children of varied backgrounds and dance abilities the unique opportunity to observe unparalleled artistry and dancers at work behind the scenes. By experiencing artistic excellence in this way, Let’s Dance will plant the seeds for ballet enthusiasts across regional areas, making the arts and the art form more accessible and inspiring these children from a young age. Let’s Dance may also launch the careers of future stars of Australian ballet, who go on to grace the stage themselves in years to come.

The announcement comes as Telstra and The Australian Ballet celebrate one of the longest running arts partnerships in Australia of 40 years in 2024. Thanks to Telstra, this partnership has helped support ballet talent among young Australian dancers for an incredible four decades. The Let’s Dance program reflects both Telstra and the Ballet’s renewed commitment to making the arts more accessible to all Australians.

Alita McMenamin, Principal, Brand, Network and Sponsorship for Telstra, said, “Telstra and The Australian Ballet share a vision to help more people experience the creativity and wonder of the arts. We are delighted to mark 40 years of Telstra supporting The Australian Ballet. We believe that partnership has had an undeniable impact on spotlighting young talent. We want to open up even more possibilities for children to experience outstanding art from a young age and not be limited by geographical boundaries. Let’s Dance will continue to nurture artistic talent among young people across Australia, especially students from diverse backgrounds and regional locations.”

David Hallberg, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, said, “Our 40-year strong partnership has been integral to The Australian Ballet’s mission to bring live performance and the experience of the art form to the broadest possible audience. Alongside our exciting On Tour program and our education and outreach activities, Let’s Dance continues to highlight the importance of inspiring children all over Australia to explore dance. We are excited that students will have the opportunity to participate and learn from our talented and dedicated staff as part of this impressive program.”

Let’s Dance outreach events will be held alongside The Australian Ballet’s On Tour program, which will delight audiences with performances of Sleeping Beauty Act III and other works. Let’s Dance events will take place at schools in the following locations from 19 June to 17 July: Renmark, Tanunda, Port Pirie and Whyalla in South Australia, before heading to Bendigo in Victoria, and Goulburn, Newcastle and Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.

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