Hoy departs Melbourne Ballet Company
After 10 years as co-director and chief choreographer of Melbourne Ballet Company, Simon Hoy has left to pursue other projects.
At the time of writing he was in Switzerland choreographing for an annual Autumn Ball, with projects in Asia, Europe, and again in Switzerland in the pipeline.
Although excited at the future opportunities, he says it is “very difficult indeed to walk away from something that you have believed in for so long and worked so hard to achieve”. “Yet even though we have built a unique and valuable artistic organisation in MBC, and created a large following throughout Australia, it is now clear to me that, despite our best efforts, unless you are a major arts organisation with vast corporate, private and political reach, the necessary government and philanthropic support is simply not there for independent companies like MBC in Australia.”
“I also believe that this situation is exacerbated by the practice of some independent dance ‘companies’ in Melbourne who promise their audience professional productions, but which in reality present work largely taken directly from YouTube and performed by students,” he says. “In my view such practices will clearly erode audience confidence in the art form itself as well as the ‘trickle down’ effect of damaging the reputation of smaller independent ballet companies generally.
“During my time with MBC the Company has produced over 30 original works, and has toured extensively throughout Australia - and beyond. I have engaged many Australian and internationally renowned choreographers, along with more than 40 professional dancers, many of whom have worked in leading world companies (including; Opera National de Paris, Nederland Dans Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Sydney Dance Company, Hamburg Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and The Royal Ballet).
“Over this period we have been granted funding from local, state and federal governments and have received strong support form Creative Victoria, the Australia Council, Regional Arts Victoria and Arts Queensland, and many venue managers and local councils, Australia-wide.
“I remain a passionate advocate of dance, and I believe in building appreciation of the arts through social awareness and education. Direct and honest community-level engagement has been vitally important for our audience development. It has therefore become clear to me that by increasing community awareness we will also help to ensure future public support and understanding of virtually the whole gamut of arts infrastructure.
“I am also proud to be able to say that since 2007 MBC has constantly evolved as a dance company through its ability to explore new approaches artistically and also by drawing on active market research. Especially – indeed foremost – I must say that I am extremely proud of our dancers! They have consistently delivered performances at the highest level and have thereby been pivotal in helping to shape this Company into the now widely recognised and celebrated arts organisation that it is today. Together we have frequently achieved hard-won critical acclaim.
“It is still my strong belief that there is a vitally important space for independent companies - who are able to serve a vast demographic, and who can also take risks by giving creative opportunities more frequently, and whose productions do not cost millions to run each year. It is from this standpoint that I sincerely hope we have helped to strengthen this landscape. I now wish MBC the very best for the future.”
Co-Artistic Director Alisa Finney, however, remains optomistic about the future of the Melbourne Ballet Company. “We are excited for Simon to have wonderful opportunities in Europe . . .”, she says.
“I will be announcing our choreographers and 2018 season in February next year and we will hold auditions if we have available contracts at this time (depending on if all our current dancers return for 2018). I am currently in negotiations with several choreographers and look forward to a launch party in the new year.”
- KAREN VAN ULZEN