Presented by Ausdance

Ross Stretton

  • Photographer: Courtesy of National Library of Australia

Ross began his dance training as a tap dancer in Canberra before taking up ballet at the age of seventeen.

He was accepted into The Australian Ballet School in 1971, and in his first year was awarded the Nureyev Bursary, quickly followed by the Harold Holt Memorial Scholarship. He joined The Australian Ballet in 1973, was promoted to soloist in 1974 and principal artist in 1978.

From 1979–96, Ross performed with companies in the US and UK, before becoming the sixth Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, expanding its repertoire to include many outstanding contemporary ballets. His three words to encapsulate his vision for the company were ‘creativity, energy, passion’. After four and a half years as AD for The Australian Ballet, Ross returned to the UK as Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet in London, reveals the strength of Ross’ passion for dance and his determination that it should never stagnate.

Colin Peasley OAM

  • Photographer: Courtesy of The Australian Ballet

Colin is the longest serving member of The Australian Ballet, joining it at its foundation in 1962 and bringing a quality of theatricality, show business and stage savvy to all his performances.

After being principal artist from 1987-97, and 20 years as ballet master and teacher, Colin established the company’s education program for student and audiences.

Colin is one of the company’s first popular ambassadors and his encyclopaedic memory for ballets, artists and touring, coupled with his sense of humour, ensures that he is always an informative and entertaining, companion. Colin continues to perform to this very day. His contribution to the art form, and his own artistic achievements over a long and varied career, are exemplary, and have earned him a Medal of the Order of Australia in the 1996 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

John Lanchbery OBE

  • Photographer: Walter Stringer, 1974. Courtesy of The National Library of Australia

John was one of the world’s leading conductors and possibly the most prolific arranger of music for the ballet theatre, from his first position with London’s Metropolitan Ballet (1947-77) until his death in Melbourne in March 2003, aged 80.

He conducted for The Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, and with many more prestigious companies and on international tours.

A magnificent conductor in the theatre, John was always sensitive to the needs of the dancers and choreographers, but always conscious of the integrity of the composer’s score. He was a bon vivant, a great friend and a hilarious and usually wicked raconteur. He was awarded honours in Russia and Sweden, and the Order of the British Empire in 1991. He settled in Melbourne in 1995 and took Australian citizenship in 2002. His contribution to the world of ballet is immeasurable.

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