The Australian Ballet School was established in 1964, just fifteen months after the national company gave its first performance at Her Majesty's Theater, Sydney. Founding Director Dame Margaret Scott DBE was to shape the School?s destiny for the next 27 years. Since Dame Margaret?s retirement, the School has seen only two other Directors, Gailene Stock AM (1990-1998), and Marilyn Rowe OBE. The majority of dancers in The Australian Ballet are graduates of The Australian Ballet School, including the Artistic Director. Graduates can also be found as principals and soloists in major companies throughout the world. Such is the standard of excellence that within six months of graduating, 90% of graduates gain contracts. This is one of the highest employment rates of any tertiary institution in Australia. The School works in close liaison with The Australian Ballet, sharing the purpose-built facilities of The Australian Ballet Centre in Melbourne. The Centre is adjacent to the Arts Centre, integrated into a creative environment in which Australian dance is able to flourish. The Australian Ballet School Training Programme is an eight-level vocational dance training programme for students aged 9 and above from Australia and overseas.
The Australian Ballet School collection comprises an unknown number of items which relate to the history of The Australian Ballet School, from its first classes in 1964 until the present day. The collection essentially has two components - official school records such as student files, attendance records, assessment records, declined applications, and business/administrative records.
Other material such as photographs and slides, posters, magazines, books, videos and CD-Roms, framed artworks and certificates, scrapbooks and ephemera.
The collection is comprehensive in the range of object types, periods and themes represented. It is rich, varied and of great current or potential interest to School staff and students, historians, researchers and the general public.
The collection tells us about the history of the School and ballet training in Australia. It includes elements of social history, such as changing teaching practices, career patterns and professional relationships. The collection covers approaches to marketing and advertising, funding and management of a major arts organisation, evolving aesthetic tastes, ideals and visions and the stories of individual dancers, teachers, administrators and supporters. In these ways it is a highly representative collection.