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Emerging female classical choreographic residency

Sydney Opera House, The Australian Ballet and Dance Australia join forces to bring women to centre stage for a second year

Sydney Opera House

Together with Dance Australia and The Australian Ballet, the Sydney Opera House again offers a thrilling career opportunity to an emerging female choreographer.

Entries are open until this Friday 28 February.

Amelia Drummond, the winner of the inaugural Emerging Female Classical Choreographer Initiative in 2019, started her career in the bush capital of Canberra, with ballet leading her to the elite schools of Germany. The 24-year-old had been training since the age of nine, graduating with a Diploma in Dance at the Australian Conservatoire of ballet in Melbourne. At the age of 16 moved to Germany to study at the Staatsliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Akademie des Tanzes Mannheim, where she began to develop her choreography. She danced professionally with the Badisches Staatsballett Karlsruhe for five years. Following Amelia’s win of the 2019 Initiative she has since been appointed Artistic Coordinator at The Australian Ballet.

On recent reflection of her experience, Amelia says “The initiative empowered me to believe in my ideas, experiment with my own creativity and gave me the opportunity to share my voice. It connected me to many artists and people in the industry who equally inspired and encouraged me, and who changed my mind about the creative process.” 

The Emerging Classical Choreographer Initiative is a collaboration between the Sydney Opera House, The Australian Ballet and Dance Australia, that awards a residency at the Opera House to an upcoming female choreographer. Again in 2020, the partnership will support the winner in creating a work for The Australian Ballet’s Bodytorque program in October 2020.

“Securing professional opportunity and enough resources to develop and sustain a choreographic practice, is often the hardest challenge for any artist,” said Olivia Ansell, the Opera House’s Head of Contemporary Performance.

“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,” said Natalie Weir, former resident choreographer at the Ballet.

In 2019, Drummond was one of more than 40 entries. Each was assessed by a knowledgeable panel of judges: The Australian Ballet’s artistic associate and principal coach, Fiona Tonkin; Olivia Ansell; and the former Artistic Director of Expressions Dance Company, Natalie Weir, alongside Dance Australia critics Margaret Mercer (WA), Geraldine Higginson (NSW), Susan Bendall (VIC) and co-editor Karen van Ulzen.


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