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Ballet draws curtain on landmark season, sets sights on 2021

Culture

In a move intended to provide certainty in uncertain times, Queensland Ballet has today taken the bold step of announcing it will move its entire 2020 season to next year.

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The announcement comes despite the Federal Government outlining its roadmap to easing restrictions, with gatherings of up to 100 people anticipated by July 10, 2020.

Queensland Ballet artistic director Li Cunxin, AO, said the company had decided to make the announcement for several reasons, but providing certainty for fans and ticketholders was its primary consideration.

“Really, number one, we do want to give our audience – particularly our season ticketholders and our single ticketholders – some certainty and some clarity, because people have been living in such a state of uncertainty for a few months and we feel the best thing we can do is give our audience that clarity, going forward,” Li told InQueensland.

With Queensland Ballet celebrating its 60th birthday this year, Li also said the organisation didn’t want to miss the chance to perform a season of programs its creatives had put so much work into producing.

“The second reason is it is such an important milestone year for us,” he said. “We put an enormous amount of energy and planning and engagement into this year’s programming, from wardrobe to production to choreographers to musicians and we want to really be able to allow our dancers a chance to be able to perform this exciting season, all the programs.

“The third thing is from all the information we have been getting, we just feel, and as you probably know, with all of the major public companies around the country now, virtually, the expectation of being able to perform anytime soon is very unlikely.”

Queensland Ballet is the first of the state’s major arts organisations to make such an announcement but Li said it was “not about taking leadership, per se” but about making the most appropriate decision for the company’s creatives and loyal fans.

“It’s really focusing on our audience, and our people, basically, and these are the two important factors we’re taking into every decision we’re making during this uncertain time.

“I really think this allows us to truly provide certainty and clarity and we also we just feel is easier for people to move the entire season’s subscription to next year without change to the programs.

“Furthermore, I just think it gives people hope that they are not going to miss anything we have planned is so meticulously this year for them, so they’ve got something to look forward to next year.”

Li said the company’s Crisis Management Response Team had established a framework for a safe step-by-step return of ballet activities and was currently finalising the dates of the rescheduled performances for 2021 with venue partners, with tickets purchased for 2020 performances to be exchanged into the 2021 dates.

Those who have purchased tickets will be advised of their new ticket details between August and September this year, with Queensland Ballet stating all patrons would be advised by no later than September 30 and patrons able to request a refund at refunds@qtix.com.au

Although Li acknowledged the disappointment of having to cancel this year’s season, he said there was plenty to look forward to in 2021.

“I really think this allows us to truly provide certainty and clarity and we also we just feel it is easier for people [if we] move the entire season’s subscription to next year without change to the programs,” he said.

“Whilst there are unknowns in the future, there are also some wonderful treats in store. In 2021, as we open the doors to our newly refurbished Thomas Dixon Centre, each season-ticketholder will be invited to preview our new home to walk through our six studios, new studio theatre, dancer spaces including wellness suite, outdoor gardens, cafe, bunker bar and rooftop terrace.

“We can’t wait to welcome you to our home, your cultural hub.  This will be a highlight of 2021.  We are focusing on the positive.”

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