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Queensland Ballet heading to China

Queensland Ballet is taking its acclaimed production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to China, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced today.

The Premier said the four-city tour, which follows on from the company’s very successful London performances of La Sylphide in 2015, would kick off in Queensland’s Sister State of Shanghai, at the Shanghai City Theatre on 9 November, followed by performances in Suzhou, Beijing and Xi’an.

“It’s always wonderful to see Queensland Ballet jete-ing onto the international stage again, but it’s especially wonderful that this time the company is performing in the birthplace of its acclaimed artistic director, Li Cunxin,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“What a thrill for Li, and what an experience for his dancers. I know they’re all looking forward to this opportunity to raise further awareness and appreciation of Queensland’s premier ballet company, and to forge closer ties with the Shanghai Ballet Company while they are there.”

The Premier said the Queensland Ballet would also participate in events hosted by the China International Import Expo and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“I commend Queensland Ballet’s efforts to support cultural diplomacy, deepen the appreciation of Australian art in China and further strengthen Queensland’s ties with the Asia Pacific,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Queensland Ballet Artistic Director Li Cunxin said the time was right to be taking Queensland’s state ballet company to China to showcase the world-class company it had become.

“We’re so proud to be representing Queensland on the world stage – to be demonstrating the international arts and culture offerings of our city and state,” Mr Li said.

“We certainly have global aspirations as a ballet company and this is the next step in us achieving that aim as we present the work of Liam Scarlett who is himself an internationally acclaimed choreographer. His production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is captivating, transcends cultural barriers and highlights the wonderful versatility and technical ability of our dancers.”  

On the company’s return to Queensland, work will commence on the redevelopment of its heritage-listed home since 1991, the Thomas Dixon Centre. 

The Premier said the redeveloped centre was due to be completed in time for the Ballet’s 60th anniversary in 2021.

“The redevelopment will help to realise the Ballet’s vision to create a centre of artistic excellence in the Asia Pacific region,” she said.

“It will include new dance studios, a new 350-400 seat performance theatre, wellness centre, dancers’ lounge, dressing rooms, board room and additional car parking.”

The Queensland Government has committed $8 million towards the centre’s expansion and improvement, along with $6 million of funding to preserve the cultural heritage of the site.

“This is an exciting time for Queensland Ballet. As the company prepares to captivate Chinese audiences, they are also excitedly preparing for a new era of growth and development in Queensland,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

“It’s heartening to see that their tour in China has largely been enabled by philanthropic support – a clear indication of just how much Queenslanders adore the ballet and their premier ballet company.”

Photo credit: David Kelly