The Australian Ballet, in collaboration with Sydney Opera House and Dance Australia magazine, announced the recipient of the Emerging Female Classical Choreographer Initiative on stage at the Joan Sutherland Theatre in Sydney last night.
The initiative creates a unique opportunity for an emerging female choreographer to take up an artistic residency at Sydney Opera House and create a work for The Australian Ballet’s Bodytorque program in October 2019.
The winner, Amelia Drummond, is from Canberra and was selected from more than 40 entries. Each entry was assessed by a panel of knowledgeable judges including The Australian Ballet’s artistic associate and principal coach, Fiona Tonkin; the head of Contemporary Performance at Sydney Opera House, Olivia Ansell; and the former Artistic Director of Expressions Dance Company, Natalie Weir (who is also a former resident choreographer of The Australian Ballet), alongside Dance Australia co-editor Karen van Ulzen and Dance Australia critics Margaret Mercer (WA), Geraldine Higginson (NSW), Susan Bendall (VIC).
“We were all delighted by the diligence and care of the applications and the high quality of the choreography,” Karen van Ulzen said. “It has been a pleasure to review such a talented field of creative women and it has been very difficult making a choice. We regret that we were not able to accept them all!”
Natalie Weir was equally enthusiastic. “This initiative is a much-needed opportunity for female choreographers working in the classical genre to have their work platformed, to work with the incredible dancers of The Australian Ballet, and to have their profile lifted, which may lead to further commissions,” she said. “Opportunities to choreograph for ballet companies are very rare; I hope this is an initiative that continues into the future.”
Amelia Drummond is a 23-year-old dancer, currently with the Badisches Staatsballett Karlsruhe in Germany. Drummond has been learning dance since the age of nine, first gaining Advanced One with high distinctions in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus, then a further Diploma in Dance at the Australian Conservatoire of Ballet in Melbourne. She moved to Germany when she was only 16 and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Dance at the Staatsliche Hochschule fuer Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Akademie des Tanzes Mannheim, where she began to develop her choreography.The initiative has been jointly supported by The Australian Ballet, Sydney Opera House and Dance Australia, and has been assisted by Bloch, Harlequin, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and DanceSurance.
“I congratulate all the applicants for the promise they showed,” Fiona Tonkin said, “but especially Amelia Drummond on her selection to choreograph a short work for The Australian Ballet’s Bodytorque program. “This is a wonderful initiative, thanks to the support of its various partners, and I am confident it will be a success.”
Pictured top: Amelia Drummond. Photo: Admill Kuyler.